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LATEST MARKET NEWS
BoJ keeps interest rates unchanged
On Wednesday September 19th 2018 the Bank of Japan’s (BoJ) governing board convened to decide on interest rates. The BoJ’s policymakers announced that they would keep borrowing costs unchanged at -0.1%. The decision was widely anticipated by analysts. A report by Danske Bank published right after the meeting noted that “the BoJ also maintained its forward guidance and left its asset purchases unchanged. The BoJ has clearly shifted to autopilot mode after it announced some policy tweaks at the July meeting, and an unchanged signal from the BoJ today was fully expected. Hence, no reaction in the US Dollar/Japanese Yen rate or the Japanese fixed income market.” In their report, the Danske Bank’s economists stressed that they expect the BoJ to keep its current monetary policy intact until the end of 2019 at least.
On Tuesday September 18th 2018, the Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso made some comments regarding the BoJ’s meeting. Taro Aso, speaking on Reuters, said that the BoJ is authorized to decide on monetary policy matters and that he believes that the central bank’s target is to pursue the appropriate policy to achieve price stability.
Japan’s Finance Minister continued his comments on Reuters noting that he is fully aware that the BoJ’s 2% Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation will take a long time to achieve. Taro Aso mentioned that any debate on BoJ’s exit strategy would probably cause market confusion which he would prefer to be avoided. Aso also urged the United States (US) and China to continue negotiations regarding trade tariffs to prevent the fallout on other countries.
The Reuters media agency published the results of a poll conducted earlier in the week. The survey was associated with the BoJ’s monetary policy. The majority of economists polled said that the BoJ is unlikely to unwind the massive stimulus until 2020 or later. The poll showed that most of them expect the BOJ to scale back on stimulus measures, not add to them. The economists’ forecast showed that the core CPI inflation is likely to remain the same for the following fiscal year (until March 2020). They also stressed that the expected sales tax hike would likely hurt the economy and would push Japan’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) lower.
UK Consumer Price Index inflation
On Wednesday September 19th 2018, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published its August 2018 CPI inflation report. The report showed that the UK’s CPI inflation rose to 2.7%, on an annualised basis, from the 2.5% figure recorded in July 2018. On a monthly basis, the UK’s headline inflation ticked higher to 0.7%, 0.2% more than in July 2018. According to the ONS services, the core CPI inflation also jumped to 2.1% in August 2018 on a year-to-year basis from 1.8% in July 2018.
The ONS accompanying report said that the rising transport, clothing and recreational goods prices drove the cost of living higher in August 2018 as the UK’s CPI inflation hit its highest level in the last six months. Right after the ONS CPI inflation report was published, the British Pound jumped to an eight-week high against the US Dollar as traders calculated that higher inflation would press the Bank of England (BoE) to raise borrowing costs earlier than previously thought.
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