The Bank of Japan is considering a projection for consumer prices for the 2025 fiscal year to rise 1.6-1.9%, the Jiji news agency reported on Monday, in a move seen to keep market players from betting on the central bank to head to exit from stimulus.
Market players are closely watching fresh projection for the fiscal year that ends March 2026 to determine how BOJ board members are gauging inflation, which will be published in its quarterly report of forecasts for growth and prices.
That will be the first policy-setting meeting under new BOJ Governor Kazuo Ueda, 71, who took over Haruhiko Kuroda on April 9.
It was not immediately clear whether Jiji was referring to core consumer prices or narrower gauge of inflation.
BOJ officials could not be reached outside the office hours.
“If the BOJ board members’ median estimate reaches 2% in fiscal 2025, that would prompt market players to factor in the end of easing let alone negative interest rate policy,” said Izuru Kato, chief economist at Totan Research.
“Governor Ueda doesn’t want it to happen at his debut policy setting meeting on April 27-28,” Kato said.
With the new forecast, chances of the BOJ tweaking its yield curve control policy would probably be diminished for April or even July, he added.
The BOJ relies on YCC policy to guide the 10-year government bond yield around 0% as part of efforts to sustainably and stably achieve its 2% inflation target.
Speculation has been rife in markets that the BOJ may soon phase out yield curve control (YCC), a prolonged policy that caps the 10-year bond yield around zero, which has fuelled worries about side-effects and market distortions.
Although inflation has nearly doubled the BOJ’s 2% target, the central bank has repeatedly said it was not the kind of desirable inflation driven by private demand and wage growth.
Ueda has predicted the CPI growth will slow below 2% around the middle of this fiscal year as base effects fade away.