One Bank of Japan policy board member said it might be possible to discern that the bank’s long-sought inflation target has been achieved during the first quarter of 2024, according to minutes from the July meeting published Wednesday.
(Bloomberg) — One Bank of Japan policy board member said it might be possible to discern that the bank’s long-sought inflation target has been achieved during the first quarter of 2024, according to minutes from the July meeting published Wednesday.
The board member’s view contrasts with a more pervasive stance that hitting the price target isn’t yet in sight during the July 27-28 deliberations where the bank surprised financial markets by effectively raising the upper limit of long-term bond yields under its yield curve control program.
A month after that meeting, Naoki Tamura, a leading hawk on the board, told business leaders in Hokkaido that achieving the inflation goal “is finally and clearly within sight.”
The policy tweak in July took place at a meeting where government representatives requested a timeout that lasted 12 minutes so they could brief their colleagues on the deliberations. In December, when the BOJ last altered its YCC parameters, government representatives needed 37 minutes for the pause, indicating that discussions were smoother this time around.
That may have been owing to relatively tranquil market conditions at the time. Some board members noted that the relative calm in the market made July a good time to adjust YCC to achieve greater policy flexibility.
Overall, many board members agreed the BOJ should continue with its monetary easing, a stance that was reinforced this week with comments by Governor Kazuo Ueda and his deputy Shinichi Uchida, who followed up last week’s decision to hold policy steady by emphasizing on Monday the importance of nurturing the buds of the economic recovery.
At the July gathering, the BOJ essentially raised its ceiling for 10-year yields to prepare for upside inflation risks while it also raised its price forecast. The first surprise decision by Ueda made BOJ watchers more cautious about potential moves toward policy normalization. About half the economists responding to a survey said they now expect the end of negative rates to come in the first half of next year.
The minutes showed some members said the BOJ needs to clearly explain that tweaks made to YCC didn’t represent a step toward policy normalization or signal any change in its stance of patiently continuing with easing.
In a note of optimism, the minutes showed that some of the nine-member board said companies are highly likely to keep raising wages next year. Sustained wage growth is a key element that the BOJ wants to see in order to set in motion a positive inflationary and growth cycle in the economy.
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