Japan’s economy to recover from pandemic pain in coming months, BOJ chief says

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FILE PHOTO: Shoppers walk at the Ameyoko shopping district, where Tokyo’s biggest street food market is located, in Tokyo

By Leika Kihara

TOKYO – Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda on Monday voiced confidence the country’s economy will overcome the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in coming months due to dramatic progress made in vaccinating the population.

“I’m quite sure the Japanese economy would overcome the impact of COVID-19 in coming months, and would be on a recovery and growth phase within a couple months,” he said at a Paris Europlace forum.

Kuroda made the remarks before reading a prepared speech on green finance, underscoring the BOJ’s intention of communicating to markets its optimism over the world’s third-largest economy.

The BOJ next meets for a rate review on Dec. 16-17. It is set to keep monetary settings unchanged and may decide whether to extend a set of pandemic-relief lending programmes beyond their current March 2022 deadline.

Japan has lagged other advanced nations in making a strong recovery from the pandemic’s hit as state of emergency curbs to combat the virus weighed on consumption.

While the Sept. 30 lifting of the curbs has given rise to hopes of a rebound in consumption, supply bottlenecks and parts shortages have disrupted manufacturers’ production and weighed on the export-reliant economy.

Concerns over Japan’s fragile recovery have prompted the government to unveil a record $490 billion spending package earlier this month, bucking a global trend towards withdrawing crisis-mode stimulus measures.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Toby Chopra)