December 20, 2018 / 6:54 AM / 3 months ago

Highlights: BOJ Governor Kuroda's comments at news conference

TOKYO (Reuters) - The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady on Thursday and stuck to its optimistic view on the economy, even as simmering Sino-U.S. trade tensions and volatile financial markets cloud the outlook for global growth.

FILE PHOTO: Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda attends the Paris Europlace International Financial Forum in Tokyo, Japan, November 19, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

In a widely expected move, the BOJ maintained its short-term interest rate target at minus 0.1 percent and a pledge to guide 10-year government bond yields around zero percent.

Following are comments from BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda at his post-meeting news conference:

IMPACT OF TRADE FICTIONS ON JAPAN’S ECONOMY

“There are more downside risks to Japan’s economy, particularly via overseas economic developments... If trade frictions persist, that could have a broad impact on Japanese and overseas economies.”

“But the BOJ’s tankan survey and our internal hearings show the impact of trade frictions on Japan’s economy is limited for now. We need to be vigilant to various risks. But at present, there’s no change to our view Japan’s economy is expanding moderately.”

“The momentum for achieving our price target is sustained.”

ON WHETHER THE BOJ HAS ANY POLICY AMMUNITION LEFT

“If we think doing so would be necessary to sustain the momentum for achieving our price target, we will ease monetary policy further as appropriate.”

“Options include cutting the short-term interest rate target, lowering the long-term yield target, ramping up asset buying and accelerating the pace of increase in base money. Should the need arise, we will take steps as appropriate.”

ON MARKET VOLATILITY

“It’s true investors’ risk-aversive stance is intensifying, causing some volatility in Japanese and overseas markets. But corporate profits, which serve as a basis for stock price moves, are strong in Japan, Europe and the United States.”

“There’s no change in economic fundamentals and currency moves are fairly stable.”

Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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