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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Unknowns impeding rate hike: Fukui

Staff writer

The Bank of Japan will raise its benchmark interest rate only after it gains more confidence in its outlook for the Japanese and global economies, BOJ Gov. Toshihiko Fukui said Friday.

Fukui made the remark after the BOJ Policy Board unanimously decided to keep its short-term interest rate at 0.5 percent earlier in the day. Most market watchers expected the decision in the belief that the BOJ wouldn't push for another interest rate hike before the Upper House election in July.

"To change our monetary policy, we need to have greater confidence in the future economy and pricing," Fukui told a news conference. "What the board members unanimously agreed on is that there are still many points we need to confirm."

Fukui said he needs more time to judge the outlook for the U.S. economy as well as whether the domestic economy will continue to grow at a sustainable pace.

Asked whether the BOJ will consider a rate hike next month when board members review the economic outlook the central bank released in April, Fukui said he is open-minded and has no fixed schedule.

"We will adjust the interest rate in accordance with the pace of the recovery of the economy and pricing," he said.

Market watchers are anxious to hear what Fukui has to say about the timing of the next interest rate hike because it has been four months since the BOJ's last hike in February.

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The Japan Times

Article 3 of 8 in Business news

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