BOJ holds pat on monetary easing policy

Policymakers at the Bank of Japan have wrapped up their two-day meeting on Tuesday.
They say they are leaving the central bank's easing program unchanged. They decided to stick with the current policy to achieve sustainable and stable price gains led by stronger wage growth.

The central bank will keep its short-term benchmark interest rate in negative territory, and will continue asset purchases to keep long-term rates "around zero percent."

The BOJ said it is maintaining what it calls an "upper bound" of 1 percent for 10-year government bond yields as a reference for its market operations.

In late October, the bank increased the flexibility of its so-called "Yield Curve Control" monetary tool on the long-term rate.

The move added flexibility to the 1 percent threshold for 10-year bond yields, rather than regarding it as a rigid cap.

Meanwhile, the bank has cut its inflation forecast for the next fiscal year starting in April.
It now expects prices to increase by 2.4 percent, down from the 2.8 percent it announced in October. This is the median forecast for the consumer price index and excludes fresh food.

Investors are now focusing on whether BOJ governor Ueda Kazuo will offer any indication of a policy shift at his news conference slated for after the meeting.