The Bank of Japan keeps policy steady but once again pushes back the timing for achieving its ambitious inflation target, reinforcing views that it will lag well behind other major central banks in scaling back stimulus. David Pollard reports.
Japan's economy has been revving up - but not inflation. This meeting the sixth time Governor Kuroda has pushed back a target for hitting a two per cent rate, since he launched his asset-buying programme in 2013. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) BANK OF JAPAN GOVERNOR, HARUHIKO KURODA, SAYING: "Inflation forecasts this time are skewed to the downside mostly in the first half of our forecast period. We think there is high possibility that inflation will reach about two percent around the fiscal year ending 2020." Or a year later than the last forecast .... (SOUNDBITE) (English) PANMURE GORDON CHIEF ECONOMIST, SIMON FRENCH, SAYING: "That is a long way away ... and he has a problem which is he's already putting huge amounts of stimulus, 80 trillion worth of quantitative easing, negative interest rates at nought point one percent. The growth performance is decent. But unfortunately again nowhere near inflationary enough to ward off the dangers of a deflationary debt cycle. A point not overtly conceded by Kuroda. But the Bank keeping rates on hold - and guidance on its 714 billion dollars annual pace of bond buying intact. Growth forecasts were revised up fractionally .... Its inflation forecast marked down for this fiscal year from 1.4 to 1.1 per cent. Japan, it seems, still struggling to get into top gear.