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Bank of Japan holds fire on larger stimulus program

Japan's central bank has rejected calls for an expansion of its monetary easing policy begun in April of last year. It said there was no need for even more stimulus as the economy continues to recover.

Following a two-day policy meeting, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) said Thursday it would keep in place its aggressive monetary easing measures designed to combat deflation and boost the world's third-largest economy.

But it added that it saw no need to expand the vast stimulus program introduced in the first half of 2013 and kept unchanged ever since.

BoJ officials stuck by their view that the national economy was on the mend despite an alarming 1.7-percent contraction of gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter of this year.

Slow to react?

The bank pointed to employment and wage growth "improving steadily", while critics of the lenders' current policy pointed to a weak housing market and sluggish factory output.

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Wages rise in Japan

For the past 20 meetings, the Bank of Japan has held off from making any major adjustments to its stimulus program, prompting some analysts to see a widening gap between the BoJ's upbeat view of the country's economy and official data.

Adjusted for a 3-percent hike in sales tax earlier this year, inflation in the country stays unchanged at 1.3 percent, still way below the bank's target of around 2 percent.

hg/bew (AFP, dpa)

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