Japan's exports grew the most in a year in December, helped by a weak yen and a pick-up in overseas demand led by the United States, an encouraging sign for the recession-hit economy even as doubts persist about the strength of global consumption.
Asian shares held near eight-week highs on Thursday as investors bet on the likely size and scope of a bond-buying program the European Central Bank is poised to unveil later in the day in an attempt to revive the flagging euro zone economy.
The Bank of Japan cut next fiscal year's inflation forecast on Wednesday and expanded a loan scheme aimed at boosting lending, acting to deflect criticism that it is sitting idly as slumping oil prices keep inflation well short of its target.
Asian shares held firm and the euro stayed under pressure on Wednesday as investors counted on the European Central Bank to unveil a stimulus drive, while the yen was subdued ahead of the Bank of Japan's policy announcement later in the Asian day.
Japanese Economics Minister Akira Amari said on Tuesday he wants to hear what the Bank of Japan thinks about a sharp decline in oil prices and its impact on consumer prices, as the BOJ's 2 percent inflation goal becomes ever more difficult to reach.
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the bank has various tools left if it were to ease monetary policy again, stressing its determination to hit its inflation target in the next fiscal year.
The central banks are finding it difficult to boost growth by increasing domestic demand and hence the need to depend upon foreign demand. The progressive rate cuts and monetary easing measures have led to massive falls in these currencies thereby helping these countries to increase exports.
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda on Tuesday stressed the bank's readiness to expand stimulus further to meet its price goal, standing firm in the face of criticism that last month's monetary easing has accelerated unwelcome falls in the currency.
While the fall in the oil prices is generally regarded as positive for many businesses, it has a major influence on inflation expectations, interest rates and bond prices at the global level.
Japanese retail investors' interest in domestic stocks has risen even as they have become more pessimistic on Japan's economic growth outlook this year, a Goldman Sachs Asset Management survey showed on Thursday.
The Bank of Japan Governor not only surprised the markets with his latest splurge of monetary easing. He sprang it on his own board members just two days earlier, jolted into action to stop them making a low-ball forecast that might have sunk his flagship inflation target.
Japanese cabinet ministers expressed concern about the yen's rapid fall, suggesting that the government may be trying to ward off any criticism that it is intentionally devaluing its currency to boost exporters' competitiveness.
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda delivered a speech at the Kisaragi-kai Meeting in Tokyo on 5th November 2014. He mainly spoke about ensuring achievement of the price stability target of 2 percent.
Asian stocks dipped on Tuesday with latest signs of slower growth in China and the euro zone dampening the mood, although Japan bucked the trend and rose to new seven-year highs on follow-through momentum generated by the Bank of Japan's surprise stimulus move last week.
When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe raised Japan's sales tax from April, he was betting he could break a jinx that has doomed leaders who raised the levy to losing their jobs.