BOJ May Increase ETF Purchases to Quell Virus Panic

Economy Politics

Tokyo, March 12 (Jiji Press)--The Bank of Japan is expected to consider increasing its purchases of exchange-traded funds and other assets at its monetary policy meeting next week, in a bid to quell panic over plummeting stock prices and the surging yen amid the new coronavirus outbreak, informed sources said.

On Thursday, the benchmark 225-issue Nikkei average on the Tokyo Stock Exchange dived more than 800 points to close below 19,000 for the first time in two years and 11 months as worries over the virus epidemic grew.

"Markets are in a panic," a senior BOJ official said. "Communication that gives reassurance is crucial," the official added, stressing the need for discussions on drastic measures at the two-day meeting of the central bank from next Wednesday.

The BOJ will "ensure stability in markets and the economy through appropriate asset purchases," BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda told reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday.

The central bank is expected to mainly consider buying ETFs temporarily without limits to help stabilize financial markets. It currently purchases ETFs at a pace of 6 trillion yen per year.

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Jiji Press