TOKYO: The Bank of Japan on Monday unveiled a series of emergency monetary policy measures to shore up the world's third-largest economy, as the coronavirus pandemic threatens a global recession.
In a meeting brought forward by two days, the BoJ said it would double its annual capacity to purchase exchange-traded funds and Japan real estate investment funds, the latest global central bank to take emergency action.
The moves sent Japanese markets whipsawing, with the Nikkei-225 initially surging two percent but then falling back rapidly as traders digested the statement.
The bank said it had decided unanimously to "actively" purchase ETFs (exchange-traded funds) and J-REITS (investment funds tied to Japanese real estate) with an annual upper limit of 12 trillion yen ($112 billion) and 180 billion yen respectively.
Seiichi Suzuki, senior market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute, said: "What's big is 12 trillion yen of ETFs buying, which means one trillion yen each month. What investor could ignore this?"
"It was quite a drastic step," Suzuki told AFP. "Those who wanted to buy jumped on the occasion."
Previously, the bank was buying a maximum of six trillion yen of ETFs and 90 billion yen of J-REITs per year.
The BoJ said it would also introduce a new operation to provide loans against corporate debt and raised its annual limit for corporate bond purchases by one trillion yen to 4.2 trillion yen.
But it left its main interest rate unchanged at minus 0.1 percent and also kept its upper limit for purchasing government bonds at 80 trillion yen.
"There have been significant uncertainties over the consequences of the outbreak of COVID-19 and over the size and persistence of their impact on domestic and overseas economies," said the bank in a statement.