By Tetsushi Kajimoto and Yoshifumi Takemoto
TOKYO (Reuters) – Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the central bank was ready to respond with further steps to support the economy, after a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday.
Policymakers are working to bolster fragile growth after the coronavirus epidemic added to the country’s economic pain from trade tensions and slowing global demand.
The meeting between Kuroda and Abe – held once every few months to exchange views on the economy and markets – comes ahead of the BOJ’s policy meeting next week, when the central bank is seen ramping up monetary stimulus.
Kuroda said the BOJ has been providing ample liquidity and stepping up asset purchases in response to recent market moves, which he described as “fluctuating wildly.”
“We’ll take appropriate steps as necessary in a timely manner, while closely monitoring developments,” Kuroda told reporters.
Kuroda and Abe last met in September.
The BOJ has been under pressure to loosen monetary policy at its March 18-19 rate review as slumping stock markets, a spike in the yen and the economic fallout from the coronavirus epidemic threaten to curtail corporate investment and push the economy into recession.
A survey released on Thursday showed large Japanese manufacturers’ business sentiment fell to a near nine-year low in January-March.
(Additional reporting by Daniel Leussink; Writing by Leika Kihara; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)