Bank of Japan holds off fresh stimulus, says economy recovering

The Bank of Japan headquarters in Tokyo on May 21, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
The Bank of Japan headquarters in Tokyo on May 21, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - The Bank of Japan on Friday held fire on expanding its vast stimulus programme, saying the world's number three economy continued to recover, even as the country's export picture worsened.

The decision was widely expected and investors would now turn their focus to a regular post-meeting press briefing from BoJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda around 3:30 pm local time (2.30pm Singapore time).

Policymakers issued their unanimous decision as questions grow about whether they would launch further monetary easing measures after Tokyo hiked sales taxes in April, dragging on growth as consumer spending took a hit.

Mr Kuroda, however, has said the impact of the levy hike has not as bad as expected.

He has pledged to take further action if necessary, after the bank last year launched unprecedented measures as part of a wider bit to stimulate the long laggard economy.

On Friday, the BoJ statement pointed to a decline in exports and said factory output "has shown some weakness", while the jobs and wage growth was "improving steadily".

"Japan's economy has continued to recover moderately as a trend, although the subsequent decline in demand following the front-loaded increase prior to the consumption tax hike has been observed," it said, a repeat of what it said at last month's meeting.