BOJ Becomes Largest Stock Investor in Japan

Economy Politics

Tokyo, Dec. 13 (Jiji Press)--The Bank of Japan apparently became the largest stock investor in the country, a decade after starting purchases of exchange-traded funds as part of monetary easing, raising concerns about its influence on share prices.

The central bank began ETF purchases in December 2010 under Governor Masaaki Shirakawa, first aiming to buy 450 billion yen's worth of ETFs.

But the program has since expanded gradually and an upper limit on its annual purchases reached as much as 12 trillion yen in March.

The BOJ owned ETFs worth 35 trillion yen in book value as of the end of November, according to the central bank.

The figure translates into 45 trillion yen in market value, exceeding ETF holdings by the Government Pension Investment Fund, previously the largest stock investor in Japan, by 200 billion yen, according to an estimate by Shingo Ide, chief equity strategist at NLI Research Institute.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press