Yen tumbles as Bank of Japan holds firm on rates

STORY: The Bank of Japan did very little on Wednesday (January 18), and that was a shock.

Analysts had expected the central bank to relent on its ultra-easy monetary policy.

It’s been the last among peers to resist raising rates.

But policymakers refused to budge, keeping rates ultra-low.

Governor Haruhiko Kuroda cited factors including the conflict in Ukraine and the legacy of the health crisis:

"Taking into account this situation for the economy and prices, it is important now to firmly support the economy and create an environment in which companies can raise wages. We at the Bank of Japan will continue monetary easing and aim to achieve our price stability target in a sustainable and stable manner in tandem with wage increases."

The yen tumbled following the news.

It dropped around 2.5% against the dollar.

Some market watchers now think Kuroda will hold off on any big moves before his term ends in April.

His last policy meeting will be held in March, after a decade at the helm.

Over that time, he oversaw radical monetary stimulus, but failed in a bid to revive anaemic consumer demand.

Wednesday did see the BOJ lift its forecast for core consumer inflation over the current fiscal year to 3%.

But the forecast for fiscal 2023 was left at 1.6%, indicating policymakers still expect price rises to cool off.