The Bank of Japan has joined to ECB in moving interest rates below zero - the BoJ set the rate for some deposits being held by the central bank at -0.1% following a monetary policy meeting that concluded on Friday. +
The unexpected decision passed by 5 votes to 4 and means that commercial banks will effectively be charged to hold money at the central bank in an effort to encourage them to lend more money.
The Bank of Japan, which has been engaging in a huge monetary easing programme under Governor Haruhiko Kuroda as part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's 'Abenomics' programme, did not rule out lowering rates further.
The central bank said it was yet again delaying the forecast for when inflation might reach its target of 2%, to the first half of the 2017 fiscal year, because of declining oil prices.
Data released on Friday showed consumer prices, excluding fresh food, were close to zero (0.1%) in December. *
The BoJ left its easing programme unchanged at its monetary policy meeting on Tuesday despite the slowdown in emerging markets dampening exports and industrial production.
Useful Resource: BoJ statement
- On Monday, Tokyo Electric Power Corp. released 850 tonnes of previously radioactive groundwater into the sea for the first time since the 2011 meltdown.
Up to 100,000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes after torrential rain caused flooding and landslides in eastern prefectures.