FILE PHOTO: A view of signage outside the headquarters of Bank of Japan amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: A view of signage outside the headquarters of Bank of Japan amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Tokyo, Japan, May 22, 2020.REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

November 27, 2020

By Leika Kihara

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Bank of Japan is set to extend beyond March a range of measures aimed at easing corporate funding strains, as the coronavius pandemic continues to hurt the economy, said sources familiar with the central bank’s thinking.

The bank’s nine-member board will reach the decision at a rate review either in December or January, they said on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to speak publicly.

The BOJ eased policy in March and April mostly by ramping up asset purchases and creating a new facility to funnel funds via financial institutions to cash-strapped firms hit by COVID-19.

The package of measures was deployed as a temporary measure that expires in March next year, unless the BOJ decides to extend the deadline.

An extension has been widely viewed as a done deal, with markets focusing on how soon the BOJ will make the decision.

With a resurgence in infections clouding the economic outlook, the BOJ is leaning toward a decision in December to reassure markets it is acting quickly to forestall a cash crunch, the sources said.

But there is no consensus yet within the BOJ as some policymakers prefer to wait for more information on how serious the pandemic’s impact on corporate funding could be, they said.

If the BOJ were to extend the measures, it will likely do so by six months or a full year, they said.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; editing by John Stonestreet & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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