(Bloomberg) -- Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Masazumi Wakatabe signaled there will be no policy change next month shortly before the end of his term, in comments that may dampen market speculation over early policy adjustments.
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Wakatabe's comments come after the BOJ's surprise December decision to widen the range of its yield curve control target. That move has continued to fuel speculation that steps toward normalization may come sooner rather than later.
"The modification was done with the aim of enhancing the sustainability of monetary easing under yield curve control," Watakabe said in a speech Thursday in Shizuoka, central Japan. "The bank's commitment to continuing with monetary easing has not changed at all."
His remarks echo Governor Haruhiko Kuroda's repeated messages that the bank must continue with easing in order to achieve stable inflation that's backed by stronger wage growth. Together their comments signal there will be no pivot at their last policy meeting between March 9-10, right before a new leadership is set to take the BOJ's helm.
Wakatabe will end his five-year term on March 19, a few weeks before Kuroda is set to conclude his decade-long stint on April 8.
Given his track record Kuroda could still surprise BOJ watchers. December's doubling of the yield band came despite his saying in the past that the move would be equivalent to a rate hike and harmful for the economy.
With that abrupt turn-around fresh in their minds, market players are likely to remain on high alert over whether the governor leaves with a unexpected parting shot at the final meeting of his tenure.
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