Bank of Japan holds rates steady, asset purchase unchanged

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Investing.com - The Bank of Japan decided to keep its overnight call rate unchanged at an ultra-low level and stuck to its plan to make JPY101 trillion yen of asset purchases by the end of the year, it announced on Thursday.

The BoJ refrained from expanding its monetary stimulus via asset purchases at the end of the final policy meeting for Governor Masaaki Shirakawa. The BoJ also left its policy interest-rate target unchanged in the current range of zero to 0.1%.

A statement on monetary policy released after the announcement showed that the Bank of Japan's nine-man policy board voted unanimously to maintain the interest rate at its current level.

In a statement accompanying the policy decision, the Bank of Japan said it "will pursue aggressive monetary easing through its virtually zero interest rate policy and asset purchases" to achieve its 2% price stability target.

The statement added that, "Japan's economy has stopped weakening."

Market focus remained on the central bank's next meeting in early-April, which will take place after Haruhiko Kuroda becomes the next governor of the bank.

Following the decision, the yen was higher against the U.S. dollar, with USD/JPY shedding 0.18% to trade at 93.91.

Meanwhile, Asian stock markets were mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rose 0.6%, Australia's ASX/200 Index fell 0.2%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index eased up 0.1%.

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