WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said any pickup in global economic growth will likely be delayed due to the widening fallout from the U.S.-China trade tensions, signalling the bank’s readiness to ease monetary policy as early as this month.
But he added the central bank will scrutinise various data “without any preconception” at its Oct. 30-31 rate review, suggesting that additional monetary easing this month was hardly a done deal.
“As we have been saying, we will ease policy without hesitation if there are heightened risks the economy will lose momentum for achieving our 2% inflation target,” Kuroda said.
“We have tools available to act. But what we will do would depend on developments at each policy meeting,” he told reporters on Thursday upon arrival in Washington for the International Monetary Fund and Group of 20 finance leaders’ gatherings.
The remarks came after the IMF warned on Tuesday that the U.S.-China trade war will cut 2019 global growth to its slowest pace since the 2008-2009 financial crisis.
Kuroda said that based on the IMF’s projections, it was now more likely that any rebound in global growth would be delayed from the BOJ’s initial projection of around late this year through early next year.
“The pick-up in global growth is being delayed. Japan’s economy is seeing exports weaken significantly and that’s affecting factory output,” he said.
“Domestic demand is firm with consumption and capital expenditure in good shape. But external demand is very weak.”
Kuroda also warned that global risks remain elevated as there was uncertainty on how the U.S.-China trade negotiations and Britian’s exit from the European Union will play out.
At last month’s meeting, the BOJ said it will more thoroughly assess economic and price developments at the October rate review due to heightening global risks - offering the strongest sign to date of its readiness to ease policy soon.
Kuroda had said the expected timing of the global growth pickup will be crucial to whether the BOJ will act this month.
Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Andrea Ricci