BOJ policy meeting to examine weak yen's impact on inflation

Officials at the Bank of Japan this week will hold their first policy meeting since scrapping the negative interest-rate policy last month.

They said at the previous gathering that they could "foresee the virtuous cycle" between wages and prices.

The BOJ officials are expected to discuss the economy, prices and markets when they meet on Thursday and Friday.

They will also release an outlook on prices for the three-year period to fiscal 2026 after the meeting.

The officials are expected to determine whether price hikes achieved mainly among major businesses in recent wage negotiations are filtering through to smaller enterprises.

They will also confirm whether service prices are rising continuously on the back of higher wages.

The Japanese yen has weakened against the dollar to a level not seen in 34 years, even after the BOJ scrapped negative interest rates.

That is because the bank intends to maintain an accommodative monetary environment for the time being. Also, stubborn inflation in the US has dashed expectations for an early start of rate cuts.

BOJ Governor Ueda Kazuo hinted in Washington last week on the possibility of hiking rates, if Japan's inflation keeps rising.

Ueda said, "If the yen's depreciation becomes a big factor in price increases -- so big that we can't ignore it -- we may change our monetary policy."

A focus in this week's meeting will be the role the BOJ assigns to the weak yen in its price outlook.

Policymakers are also expected to discuss the central bank's future direction. Topics may include the timing of further rate hikes and dialing-back its purchases of Japanese government bonds.