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BOJ stands pat, offers brighter view on economy

[TOKYO] The Bank of Japan kept monetary settings unchanged on Friday and offered a more upbeat view on the economy, signalling that no immediate expansion of stimulus was on the horizon.

As widely expected, the BOJ decided to maintain its pledge to increase base money, or cash and deposits at the central bank, at an annual pace of 80 trillion yen (US$673 billion) through purchases of government bonds and risky assets.

BOJ board member Takahide Kiuchi dissented from the decision, arguing that it was appropriate to revert to the BOJ's monetary policy before the Oct. 31 decision to expand stimulus.

The BOJ also revised up its assessment of the economy to say that it continues to recover moderately as a trend with the effect of the sales tax hike in April waning as a whole.

BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda will hold a news conference at 3:30 p.m. (0630 GMT) to explain the policy decision.

The BOJ in October unexpectedly expanded monetary stimulus in a stark admission that economic growth and inflation have not picked up as much as expected after the April sales tax hike.