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Kuroda says the Bank of Japan is talking about an exit from its huge stimulus program

Key Points
  • The Bank of Japan is talking about an exit from its huge stimulus program.
  • The central bank has pledged to buy $80 trillion yen ($720 billion) worth of bonds a year.
  • Governor Haruhiko Kuroda says his target is still to achieve 2 percent inflation.
Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda gestures during a news conference at the BOJ headquarters in Tokyo, Japan November 1, 2016.
Kim Kyung-Hoon | Reuters

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) is currently discussing how to exit its massive stimulus program, but it's too early to reveal any of the details.

That was the statement made by Governor Haruhiko Kuroda to Japanese lawmakers in parliament Tuesday. "Internally we're conducting various discussions," said Kuroda, according to reports, when asked about an exit strategy from its easy monetary policy. However, he quickly noted that Japanese inflation was still running well below target. He added that any "open talk" of tapering or ending its stimulus would confuse markets.

Following Kuroda's words, the Japanese yen strengthened sharply against the dollar but almost immediately gave up its gains.

Beginning in 2013, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe introduced a three-pronged approach of structural reform, monetary stimulus and fiscal stimulus in a bid to revive growth.

The second "arrow" of monetary policy is led by the Bank of Japan's (BOJ) asset purchase program. The bank currently has a loose pledge to buy $80 trillion yen ($720 billion) worth of bonds a year.

Japan's public debt is more than twice its gross domestic product, leading many observers to doubt that the BOJ will be in any position to raise interest rates even if 2 percent inflation was achieved.

Kuroda claimed that his mandate won't be affected by the preferences of his country's government.

"The BOJ is of course not oblivious to politics. But the purpose of our monetary policy is to achieve our price target and healthy economic growth," Kuroda told parliament.

On March 16, Japan's parliament formally approved Kuroda's nomination for a second five-year term at the central bank.