July 18, 2019 / 11:53 AM / a month ago

BOJ's Kuroda says will mull data until last minute in deciding July policy

CHANTILLY, France (Reuters) - Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Thursday the central bank will scrutinise economic developments until the last minute in deciding policy this month, suggesting that whether to stand pat or increase stimulus will be a close call.

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda speak during a news conference at the G7 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Chantilly, near Paris, France, July 18, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

As U.S.-China trade frictions cloud the global outlook, an increasing number of market players expect the BOJ’s next move to be a loosening of monetary policy with some betting of action as early as the next rate review on July 29-30.

After attending a Group of Seven finance chiefs’ gathering in Chantilly, north of Paris, Kuroda said he felt the group now expect the timing of a pick-up in global growth to be delayed “somewhat” given looming downside risks.

“Personally, I don’t think we need to expect the pick-up in global growth to be delayed significantly, or that this will become a big problem ahead,” Kuroda told a news conference.

“As for what will happen at the next BOJ meeting, we will discuss policy taking into account economic, price and financial conditions available until the last minute,” he told reporters.

Aside from debating monetary decisions, the BOJ will issue at the July meeting new quarterly economic and inflation projections that serve as a basis for future policy decisions.

“This time we will issue the quarterly report, so the thinking behind it will be among factors” the BOJ will look at in deciding policy this month, Kuroda said.

Many BOJ officials are wary of ramping up an already massive stimulus programme as years of heavy money printing has pushed borrowing costs to zero, straining commercial banks’ margins and leaving the central bank with little ammunition to fight the next recession.

But increasing signs of a global slowdown have kept the BOJ under pressure to ease further to support the economy.

In a summary released by chair country France on Thursday, the G7 finance leaders said they expect a moderate pick-up in global economici growth in 2020.

That was a bleaker assessment than one made in a communique issued by G20 finance chiefs last month, which said global growth was projected to “pick up moderately later this year and into 2020.”

Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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