After a few years of relative apathy, today's Bank of Japan statement is greeted with considerable anticipation as it may well have some significant impacts on global markets, judging by the last two weeks' action after hints at BoJ policy shifts.
But the most-watched item in today's statement will be with regard Yield Curve Control (YCC) as recent source articles have suggested that the BoJ will discuss potential policy changes to its YCC framework on the basis of sustainability, not tightening, of monetary policy which could lead to an adjustment of the yield curve target - where the 10Y JGB trades - to allow a long-term natural rise. This is said to be the cause due to the central bank's admission that it may take even longer to hit the 2% price target, and therefore would need to ensure its policy measures can be sustained, while a policy tweak could also help alleviate some of the side-effects from its prolonged ultra-loose policy which has squeezed banks' profits.
And yet, few expect that the BOJ will make an explicit YCC determination today, as an increase in the JGB yield target appears unlikely at a time when it is expected to revise downward its inflation forecast; instead in consideration of the adverse side effects of its policy, the BoJ will likely declare at the end of its statement that, based on its analysis in its quarterly Outlook Report, that it will maintain its easing policy for an extended period but will conduct financial market operations and asset purchasing operations to address the mounting cumulative side effects.
And in case there is a negative reaction to this apparent 'tightening', one likely easing measure to deal with such side effects will include an overhaul of its JPY6 billion ETF purchasing operations, a shift from Nikkei 225-linked ETF to Topix-linked ETF, which would likely spur investors to follow suit in rebalancing their portfolios should this materialize.
And finally, while 'officially' The Bank of Japan has not shifted its bond-buying program's scope, in practice it has been tapering dramatically... forced by liquidity constraints in the market.
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