(Bloomberg) -- The Bank of Japan will likely wait until April before terminating the world’s last negative interest rate, rather than moving later this month, according to a former executive director in charge of monetary policy.

“I can’t think of any reason for daring to make the move in March,” Kazuo Momma, the former director, said in an interview Thursday. “It’s in April, not March.”

Momma spoke as traders sift every data point and central bank comment for clues over the exact timing of Japan’s first rate hike since 2007. The bank has continued to ramp up signals of a near-term change, with a board member saying Thursday “it’s fine to shift the gear one notch lower” for policy to be consistent with economic conditions.

Read more: BOJ Signals Rate Hike Is Getting Closer, Sparking Yen Rally 

In April more data will be available for the bank than in other months, said Momma, also a former BOJ chief economist. The BOJ will have its quarterly Tankan business survey, information from its branch managers’ meeting and a financial system report in addition to other regular economic data. The bank will also release updated economic projections in April that will include fiscal 2026 for the first time.

“The BOJ can assess everything and make its most comprehensive judgment,” said Momma, who is currently executive economist at Mizuho Research & Technologies. “The BOJ has said it will assess economic and price conditions, so that’s what it should do to be consistent.”

If the BOJ does hold steady this month, most market participants would be certain of an April liftoff without the need for any extra signaling, he said. There’s no need to surprise roughly half of the market by acting on March 19 as that could sew seeds of doubt over the BOJ’s communications efforts, he said.

“The BOJ would be ruining the well-calibrated communications delivered over the past months if it betrays half of market participants over one of its biggest events,” Momma said.

The bank’s largest concern for now is probably the initial result of spring wage talks due on March 15. Momma is keen to see if pledged increases exceed 5% overall. If the pace comes in below last year’s 3.6%, that could cause “a big shock” at the bank, he said.

Read more: Japan’s Wage Talks Closely Watched as BOJ Mulls Rate Hike Timing

While some analysts see a chance of the recent weakening of the yen pushing the BOJ to move in March, currency moves are driven by the Federal Reserve, and Japan’s cost-push inflation is already decelerating, so it won’t be the catalyst, according to Momma.

Japan’s second consecutive quarterly contraction through December won’t deter the bank from increasing its policy rate as it’s already a given, but weakness in the economy will likely affect the path of rate hikes, Momma said.

“It could be that there’d only be one more hike to bring the rate to 0.25% at most by the end of the year,” Momma said. At the same time, “there is also a good chance the rate would stay just between 0% and 0.1%.”

Momma accurately forecast Governor Kazuo Ueda’s move to adjust its yield curve control program in October last year. He doesn’t expect any major new signals or change in forward guidance at the March meeting.

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