BOJ's assets up 4.9 pct on asset purchases, funding support amid COVID-19 pandemic

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TOKYO, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Total assets held by the Bank of Japan (BOJ) rose to a record 724.06 trillion yen (6.3 trillion U.S. dollars) in the six months to September, up 4.9 percent year-on-year, due to asset purchases and funding support amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the central bank said Friday.

The Japanese central bank has been pumping liquidity to support economic growth and approach to its 2 percent inflation target. It buys Japanese government bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETF), commercial paper, and corporate bonds under its yield curve control program to keep low short-term and long-term rates.

The BOJ's holdings of Japanese government bonds stood at 528.03 trillion yen (4.63 trillion dollars), falling 0.4 percent from a year earlier, according to the BOJ data. In addition, the holdings of ETF rose 5.9 percent to 36.21 trillion yen (320 billion dollars) with an appraisal profit of 16.62 trillion yen (150 billion dollars), but the pace of increase reduced sharply from a 24.5-percent rise in the same period last year.

In March, the BOJ removed an annual purchase target for ETFs. It purchased ETFs only a few times in the six months to September, however, the total holdings have ballooned with an unloading plan yet to be set, local media reported.

The BOJ has offered funds to commercial banks that extend loans to financially struggling firms due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with total loans surging 32.0 percent to 138.42 trillion yen (1.21 trillion dollars).

In the reporting period, the central bank also paid 4.9 billion yen (43 million dollars) in special interest to 631 financial institutions such as commercial banks, under a program aimed at mergers and better business management among regional banks facing the challenge of low profitability. Enditem

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