The Bank of Japan (BOJ) pledged to increase purchases of exchange-traded funds (ETF) but kept interest rates steady at the close of its two-day meeting on Friday, confounding market expectations of hefty stimulus.
In an eagerly-awaited decision, the central bank said it would ramp up ETF purchases so that their amount outstanding will rise at an annual pace of 6 trillion yen ($56.7 billion), from 3.3 trillion yen previously.
It also doubled the size of a lending program for local companies to $24 billion. The program provides U.S. dollars to Japanese companies in a bid to support their overseas activities.
Notably, the central bank left interest rates steady despite mounting pressure for aggressive easing from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration.
In a statement, the central bank flagged the recent Brexit vote, slowdown in emerging economies and volatile markets as reasons for its move.
It said Friday's measures were aimed at "preventing these uncertainties from leading to deterioration in business confidence and consumer sentiment as well as to ensure smooth funding in foreign currencies by Japanese firms and financial institutions."