UPDATE 2-Japan govt nominates reflationist-minded economist to join BOJ board

TOKYO () – Japan’s government on Tuesday nominated Seiji Adachi, an economist known as a proponent of aggressive monetary easing, to join the Bank of Japan’s nine-member board. The nomination is likely to reinforce market expectations the central bank will maintain its massive stimulus program to reflate the economy and fire up inflation to its elusive 2% target. Adachi, 54, an economist at Japan’s Marusan Securities, would replace Yutaka Harada, a similarly minded board member whose term expires on March 25. The nomination is unlikely to tip the balance of the board, which is split between those who see room for the BOJ to ramp up stimulus and others who are more worried about the rising cost of prolonged easing such as the hit to bank profits from years of ultra-low interest rates. Adachi is among a group of reflationist-minded economists who supported Governor Haruhiko Kuroda’s huge asset-buying program deployed in 2013 to shock Japan out of deflation. “His position on monetary policy is close to that of Harada. I don’t think it will change the outlook for BOJ policy,” said Hiroshi Ugai, chief economist at JP Morgan Securities Japan. In an interview with Japan’s Nikkei newspaper in 2017, Adachi said the BOJ should buy foreign bonds or accelerate the pace of its purchases of exchange-traded funds (ETF) to prop up inflation. He was against deepening negative interest rates. Under a policy dubbed yield curve control (YCC), the BOJ guides short-term rates at -0.1% and the 10-year government bond yield around 0%. It also buys government bonds and risky assets such as ETFs as part of efforts to funnel money to the economy. It does not buy foreign bonds on the view doing so would infringe upon the Ministry of Finance’s jurisdiction on currency policy. The government’s pick of Adachi needs to be approved by both houses of the parliament, which should proceed smoothly as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling bloc holds a solid majority in both chambers. With global risks weighing on Japan’s economy and inflation well below its target, many market players expect the BOJ to keep monetary policy steady for the foreseeable future to help underpin a fragile recovery. Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto and Yoshifumi Takemoto; Additional reporting by Kaori Kaneko and Leika Kihara; Editing by Richard Pullin and Christopher CushingOur Standards:The Thomson Trust Principles.