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Japan's central bank launches 'new phase of monetary easing'
Japan's central bank made a drastic shift in monetary policy on Thursday, as it pledged to double the amount of money in circulation in its latest attempt to banish deflation and spur growth in the world's third-largest economy.

The Bank of Japan announced on Thursday that it would launch "a new phase of monetary easing both in terms of quantity and quality" and double the money supply by between 60 trillion yen and 70 trillion yen (£417.6bn to £487bn) a year to push prices higher and achieve a 2pc inflation target at the "earliest possible time."

Haruhiko Kuroda, Japan's central bank governor, said that the bank would continue to pump money into the economy until the inflation target was "sustainably forseen".

"The previous approach of incremental easing wasn't enough to pull Japan out of deflation and achieve 2pc inflation in two years," said Mr Kuroda.

"This time, we took all necessary steps to achieve the target," he added.

Tokyo's stock market closed up 2.20pc on Thursday at 12,634.54 after the Bank unveiled the measures, while the yen fell sharply against the dollar to 95.68 yen, from Wednesday's close of 93.04 yen.

Japanese benchmark borrowing costs fell to their lowest level in almost ten years, as the bank announced that it would also double its purchases of long term government bonds and extend average maturities to seven years, from slightly less than three years at present. Yields on benchmark 10-year government bonds fell by more than 11 basis points to 0.436pc, a level not seen since June 2003.

Analysts said the central bank's move was bold. "Mr Kuroda has come out with guns blazing in his inaugural meeting as Bank of Japan (BoJ) Governor, surpassing our own expectations and those of the market with aggressive policy measures to put an end to deflation in the Japanese economy," said Brian Jackson, global foreign exchange strategist at Coutts.

Mr Kuroda dismissed fears that the bank's policy could lead to a spike in long-term yields or an asset price bubble. "The chance of this happening is actually very small. I don't think there is a bubble in the government bond market," he said.

Japan's central bank has vowed to meet the 2pc inflation target within two years, bowing to demands from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to end a long spell of deflation that has hindered investment and economic growth.

Kiyoko Katahira, an analyst at Societe Generale, said: "The new BoJ has broken with the cautious policies of the past and has started a monetary policy that can be called 'bold', just as the PM Abe has demanded. We wait to see for further implications ahead."

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