(Bloomberg) -- Roughly a third of polled economists expect the Bank of Japan to strengthen its pledge on future interest rates at next week’s meeting, according to a Bloomberg survey.
Amid a global about-turn in central bank policy toward more stimulus, some 77% of 47 analysts predicted the BOJ’s next policy move will be additional easing, up from 62% last month, the survey also showed.
Of those polled, 38 said they expect the bank to leave policy settings unchanged next week. The other nine said it would ease further, with a majority expecting it to take the form of stronger pledge to maintain rock-bottom interest rates. In all, some 30% expect the bank to bolster the pledge.
The two-day gathering concludes on July 30, the day before the Federal Reserve is widely expected to cut rates for the first time in more than a decade.
Click here to read the full survey results
Moves to ease policy by central banks come amid heightened uncertainty over the health of the global economy as growth slows. Group of Seven finance ministers last week said they don’t expect the situation to pick up until next year, while the IMF on Tuesday trimmed its growth forecasts for this year and next.
BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda also flagged his concerns about the murkier outlook on Monday.
Fed rate cuts could also put upward pressure on the yen, threatening corporate profits, business sentiment and the BOJ’s efforts to generate inflation, adding another dimension to the need for some form of action.
Given a lack of ammunition for the BOJ and concerns over the side effects of its existing stimulus measures, economists see the bank as more likely to resort to verbal assurances rather than a change of its policy settings. Some 70% see the bank amending by its October meeting the promise to keep rates low, a sharp increase from 40% in the previous survey last month.
The BOJ could change its guidance by extending the status quo of extremely low rates beyond the current time frame of until at least around spring 2020 or by modifying the wording to give a stronger signal of intent. The survey shows that not all the economists expecting a change in guidance at the July meeting would count it as additional easing.
Most of the economists expect the BOJ will revise down its inflation and growth forecasts for at least one of three years in an updated quarterly outlook report to be released at the coming meeting. The BOJ will probably downgrade its price outlook for this fiscal year ending in March next year, according to people familiar with the matter.
--With assistance from Cynthia Li.
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