Japan's shares slide on stimulus disappointment

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Japan's benchmark Nikkei index fell by nearly 2% after the country's central bank said further stimulus measures would not be put in place for the moment.

The Bank of Japan (BoJ) said it would expand the maturity of its purchases of Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs).

However, it said it would keep printing money at the same pace.

The BoJ said Friday's news did not amount to an expansion of current monetary easing policies.

"We've taken steps to supplement [the quantitative and qualitative easing] so that we can expand the programme without hesitation if needed," said BoJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda.

At first, investors reacted positively to the news the bank would expand the maturity of its JGB purchases. However, stocks tumbled later once the market realised there would be no further easing until possibly next year.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed down 1.9% at 18,986.80.

"[The BOJ's] governor Kuroda has a penchant for surprises, and he delivered another one today," said Japan economist Marcel Thieliant.

"The bank just decided to expand the maturity of its purchases of JGBs from the current 7-10 years to 7-12 years in order to 'encourage a smoother decline in interest rates across the yield curve'.

"These are all helpful measures, but they won't make much difference in practice," he added.

Elsewhere in Asia

Other markets in the region spent much of the day in negative territory as falling oil prices hurt investor sentiment.

The price of Brent Crude, seen as the global benchmark, was 1.4% lower at $36.86 a barrel. West Texas Crude fell 2.1% to $34.78.

In China, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 0.06% at 21,855.87 in afternoon trade, while the Shanghai Composite index ended the session down 0.03% at 3,578.96.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 0.09% at 5,106.70, while South Korea's benchmark Kospi index finished the day down 0.13% at 1,975.32.

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