BOJ stands pat on policy, revises down view on output

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TOKYO (Oct 7): The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady on Tuesday but revised down its assessment of factory output, acknowledging that a sales tax hike in April had dealt a heavier blow to the economy than expected.

As widely expected, the BOJ voted unanimously to maintain its pledge of increasing base money, or cash and deposits at the central bank, at an annual pace of 60-70 trillion yen ($547 billion-$638 billion) through purchases of government bonds and risky assets.

"Japan's economy continues to recover moderately as a trend, but there is some weakness in production ... after the sales tax hike," the BOJ said in a statement issued after the meeting.

BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda will hold a news conference from 3:30 p.m. (0630 GMT) to explain the policy decision.

BOJ board member Sayuri Shirai disagreed with the central bank's description of inflation expectations. He also suggested the bank say an increasing number of indicators of inflation expectations had been flat recently.

BOJ board member Takahide Kiuchi proposed watering down the central bank's price target, which was turned down in an eight-to-one vote.

The BOJ has stood pat since launching an intense burst of stimulus in April last year, when it pledged to double base money via aggressive asset purchases to achieve its 2 percent inflation target in roughly two years. (1 US dollar = 109.6500 Japanese yen)