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BANK OF JAPAN'S JULY DEBATE HIGHLIGHTS RIFT IN VIEW ON RATE-HIKE TIMING

Bank of Japan policymakers agreed on the need to maintain ultra-loose monetary settings but were divided on how soon the central bank could end negative interest rates, minutes of its July meeting showed on Wednesday. The nine board members also diverged in their views on whether companies would keep hiking wages next year, the minutes showed, highlighting uncertainty on how quickly the BOJ could begin phasing out its massive stimulus programme.

One member said there was "still a significantly long way to go" before the BOJ can revise its negative interest rate policy, the minutes showed. Another member, however, said achievement of the BOJ's 2% inflation target had "clearly come in sight," adding that it might be possible to assess whether the target has been met "around January through March 2024," the minutes showed. Many members agreed the central bank must keep interest rates ultra-low for now as stable, sustainable achievement of its 2% target was not yet in sight, the minutes showed.

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