Wednesday, 19 February 2014

BoJ boosts loan schemes, PBC drains liquidity

The two biggest Asian central banks were in the news on Tuesday.

The Bank of Japan left its monetary policy unchanged after its meeting on Tuesday but extended its special loan facilities by one year while doubling the funds available to banks under two of the facilities.

The BoJ kept its assessment that the Japanese economy is recovering moderately.

The People's Bank of China went in the opposite direction on Tuesday, selling repurchase contracts for the first time since June and draining funds from the banking system.

Meanwhile, the Bank of England appears unlikely to tighten monetary policy soon after a report on Tuesday showed that UK inflation fell to 1.9 percent in January from 2.0 percent in December. It was the first time in over four years that the inflation rate has fallen below the BoE's target.

In contrast, other data on Tuesday showed that house prices in the UK rose by 5.5 percent in the 12 months to December, up from 5.4 percent in November.

In the US, however, the housing market has cooled with the weather. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index fell to 46 in February from 56 in January.

Also deteriorating in February was German investor confidence. The ZEW index of investor and analyst expectations fell to 55.7 this month from 61.7 in January.

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