Interest rate hikes are back on the radar at the Bank of Japan, for the first time in a decade, as the U.S. Federal Reserve's tightening cycle pushes global bond yields higher, heralding a new era for central banks retreating from post-crisis stimulus.
The Bank of Japan is likely to hold off on expanding stimulus next week despite an expected downgrade in its price forecast that may show Governor Haruhiko Kuroda won't see inflation hit his 2% target before his tenure ends in 2018.
The Bank of Japan says there is no possibility of helicopter money, and by a strict definition they are correct. But as the government plans to issue more 40-year bonds, it is looking more and more like some monetization of debt is underway. The BOJ says as long as it buys Japanese government bonds (JGB) from the market, it is not directly underwriting bonds to fund government spending.
The Bank of Japan may have run into an unexpected obstacle as it considers expanding its extraordinary stimulus program as soon as next week -- the wrath of the country's powerful but typically compliant banks over pushing interest rates deeper into negative territory.