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2008年11月 1日 (土)

日銀利下げ決定

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Nov. 1, 2008)

Market, investors pushed BOJ to cut rate

日銀決定会合 市場が迫った利下げの決断(111日付・読売社説)

The Bank of Japan decided at a meeting of its Policy Board on Friday to cut its key interest rate for the first time in 7-1/2 years, with the governor, in a rare move, casting the deciding vote after a split vote among its members.

 総裁が裁定を下すという異例の採決のすえ、日銀が7年半ぶりの利下げを決めた。

The central bank decided to encourage the uncollateralized overnight call rate to remain at around 0.3 percent, down from 0.5 percent. The rate cut was the first since March 2001, when the central bank introduced the quantitative easing policy, which increased the money supply.

 日本銀行は31日の金融政策決定会合で、政策金利を0・2%引き下げ、0・3%とした。量的緩和策を導入した2001年3月以来、7年半ぶりの利下げである。

In Tokyo, worries over the drastic appreciation of the yen and expectations over an interest rate cut combined to produce violent fluctuations of stock prices and exchange rates.

 東京市場は今週、急激な円高への懸念と利下げ期待が交錯し、株価や為替が乱高下した。

There was an especially strong fear that the yen's appreciation and the stock price plunge could accelerate unless the Bank of Japan followed the U.S. Federal Reserve Board in cutting interest rates.

29日の米利下げに日銀が追随しないと、円高と株安が加速しかねないとの懸念は強かった。

Although interest rate cuts have only a limited direct effect as an economic stimulus measure, the central bank acted appropriately to prevent further instability in the market and financial system.

 利下げによる直接の経済浮揚効果はそれほど大きくないとしても、市場と金融システムの混乱を回避するためには、妥当な判断だったと言えよう。

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Explanation lacking

However, opinions of Policy Board members were split 4-4, and Gov. Masaaki Shirakawa, who is chairman of the board, made the final decision on the interest rate cut.

 ただ、決定会合メンバー8人の賛否は4対4と真っ二つに割れ、議長の白川方明総裁の判断で決した。

Of the four opponents, only one was against the cut itself, with the other three arguing for a 25-basis point cut.

反対票のうち利下げ自体への反対は1人だけで、残りの3人は下げ幅を「0・25%」に拡大するよう主張した。

After the central bank's announcement, the Nikkei Stock Average index's losses expanded as investors had expected the rate to be trimmed by the usual 25 basis points.

 利下げ発表後、下げ幅がこれまで通例の0・25%より小さいなどとして、東京市場の平均株価は下落幅を拡大した。

To address possible concerns harbored by the public that the Bank of Japan stinted on the long-awaited rate cut, the central bank should explain its intentions behind the move and what it hopes it will achieve.

 せっかくの利下げが「出し惜しみ」と失望されぬよう、日銀は狙いや効果について、十分に説明すべきである。

As well as an attempt to calm market volatility, the central bank decided to implement its first credit-easing policy in a while because of damage caused to the real economy by the financial crisis.

 日銀が久々の金融緩和に踏み切ったのは、市場の混乱に加え、その背景にある実体経済の一段の悪化が大きい。

The Bank of Japan says in its biannual Outlook for Economic Activity and Prices that "increased sluggishness in economic activity will likely remain until around the middle of fiscal 2009," a grim prognosis.

 日銀は、経済・物価の見通しを示す「展望リポート」で、2009年度半ばまで日本経済は「停滞色が強い状態が続く」と、これまでより厳しい認識を示した。

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Adjustment steps needed

Also in the outlook report, the central bank revised downward its forecast for the nation's economic growth in fiscal 2008. The report says the economy this fiscal year will see almost zero growth, and that growth in fiscal 2009 will stay below 1 percent. The central bank said the economy will pick up growth potential in or after fiscal 2010.

 今後の実質成長率の見通しも、大きく下方修正した。今年度はほぼゼロ成長、来年度も1%を下回り、本来の成長力を取り戻すのは2010年度以降とした。

With the central bank rate cut, interest rates will be further lowered, and the Bank of Japan's hands will be largely tied when it comes to monetary policy management. The central bank must come up with appropriate monetary adjustment steps that meet economic conditions, to stabilize both the financial system and the economy.

 今回の利下げで、金利水準はさらに低くなり、金融政策運営の手綱さばきは、難しさを増している。経済情勢に応じた的確な金融調節で、金融システムと経済の安定を図らねばならない。

In this regard, we think it was appropriate that the bank, for the first time, set a 0.1 percent interest rate for financial institutions' current accounts at the central bank.

 この点で、金融機関が預ける日銀当座預金に0・1%の金利をつける制度を初めて導入したことは適切と言えよう。

With this interest rate at the central bank, surplus funds at financial institutions will tend to accumulate at the Bank of Japan. That means the central bank will be able to provide funds to the market more smoothly.

 日銀がわずかでも金利を払うことで、手持ちに余裕のある金融機関の資金が、日銀に集まりやすくなる。日銀の市場への資金供給は一段と円滑化する。

This interest rate regime will continue until April. The central bank should take advantage of the system to make its monetary-easing policy more effective.

 制度の期限が切れる来年4月まで、その利点を存分に活用し、金融緩和の効果を高めてほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 1, 2008)

20081110137  読売新聞)

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