Bank of Japan keeps policy on hold, focus on semi-annual report

TOKYO (Reuters) - The Bank of Japan (BOJ) kept monetary policy steady on Wednesday, signalling its confidence that the country is making steady progress toward meeting the bank's price target.

As expected, the central bank voted unanimously to maintain its pledge of increasing base money, its key policy gauge, at an annual pace of 60 trillion to 70 trillion yen (S$734-857 billion).

Markets are focusing on the BOJ's semi-annual report due out at 2pm Singapore time, which will issue long-term economic and price forecasts including, for the first time, those for fiscal year 2016/17 ending in March 2017.

BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda will then hold a news conference from 2.30pm Singapore time.

The BOJ has stood pat since launching an intense burst of stimulus last April, when it pledged to accelerate inflation to 2 per cent in roughly two years via aggressive asset purchases in a country mired in deflation for 15 years.