• By The Financial District


The Bank of Japan (BOJ) maintained Thursday its ultra-loose monetary policy as widely expected, but it gave a slightly better assessment of the coronavirus-hit economy as Governor Haruhiko Kuroda looks set to work with the country's new prime minister through the crisis, Kyodo news agency reported.

At the end of its two-day policy meeting, the central bank maintained short-term interest rates at minus 0.1 percent while guiding long-term rates to around zero percent. It will also continue with measures to facilitate fundraising by struggling companies, Mainichi Shimbun also reported.

"Japan's economy has started to pick up with economic activity resuming gradually, although it has remained in a severe situation due to the impact of the novel coronavirus at home and abroad," the BOJ said in a statement, a day after the Cabinet under Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was launched.

The BOJ, which previously said the economy is "in an extremely severe situation," made the latest assessment as exports and industrial output have "turned to a pick-up." With economic activity resuming, the BOJ said the economy is likely to "follow an improving trend." The policy meeting came amid persisting uncertainty over the impact of the pandemic that led the Japanese economy to shrink a record 28.1 percent at an annualized rate in the April-June quarter.

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