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BOJ still has room to increase monetary stimulus

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Haruhiko Kuroda, governor of the Bank of Japan (BOJ), speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group Annual Meetings in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016.SOURCE:BLOOMBERG

[JAPAN]Japan's central bank still has room to increase monetary stimulus and doesn't intend to reduce its bond-buying program soon, Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said in an interview.

"For the time being, we keep the long-term interest rate around zero. If necessary, we could reduce the target rate of the 10-year Japanese government bond even lower than zero percent," Mr Kuroda said on Saturday, speaking with Bloomberg Television's Francine Lacqua. "If necessary, we can reduce both the short end and long end of interest rates." Mr Kuroda spoke weeks after he led the Bank of Japan to shift its stimulus program away from pre-set government bond purchases to a yield-targeting approach, officially known as quantitative and qualitative monetary easing with yield curve control. Taking a page out of the 1940s U.S. Federal Reserve's playbook, the bank now targets 10-year bond yields, fixed at about 0 percent.

Speaking later on Saturday at the Brookings Institution, Mr Kuroda said by committing to continue expanding the monetary base until inflation stabilizes above 2 per cent, the BOJ "aims to work on people's perceptions of inflation in a more forceful manner." Asset purchases could go up or down to manage the yield curve, he said.

The remarks come as top global finance officials meeting in Washington repeated their call for governments to unleash new spending and push through reforms to reinvigorate world growth amid signs that the impact of monetary policy is waning.

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While Mr Kuroda said he's confident the policy to control the yield curve will succeed, there may be times when rates miss the target. "I don't say that we can completely control the 10-year interest rate," he said in the Bloomberg interview. "But from our experience, we can basically influence and manage the long-term interest rate to be around zero percent." If the bank achieves its 2 percent inflation target, "then gradually the 10-year JGB rate would go up." "If necessary, we can make new measures to cap the long-term interest rate to go beyond our current target," he said. "We even have new measures to introduce, which could avoid interest rate to go beyond the level we are targeting."  Japan's central bank also built on its record of pioneering new strategies by pledging to overshoot its 2 per cent inflation target before it ever stops increasing the supply of money. Mr Kuroda has repeatedly painted the Sept 21 decision as a strengthening in monetary easing.