Asia markets down as Japan holds rates

Mr Kuroda BOJ governor Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Bank of Japan's governor Haruhiko Kuroda. Analysts said on Tuesday that the BOJ may introduce more easing as soon as next month

Markets in Asia were trading in negative territory after Japan's central bank left its monetary policy unchanged and gave a slightly less positive outlook for the economy.

Investor sentiment was also hurt by oil prices, which fell by nearly 3% after Iran put off plans to join nations proposing a freeze on production.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 lost more than 1% on the Bank of Japan's announcement.

The index finished the session down 0.7% to 17,117.07 points.

In a surprise move earlier this year, the BOJ introduced negative lending rates in an attempt to give its flagging economy a boost.

It did not change its lending rate on Tuesday, however, and said it would continue to expand the monetary base at an annual pace of 80 trillion yen ($700bn).

Image copyright Getty Images

"The focus of [Tuesday's trading] session was the Bank of Japan, who ultimately delivered…. very little," said Chris Weston from IG Markets.

"It certainly seems that the BOJ have little desire to lower the deposit rate deeper into negative territory, in a similar vein as the European Central Bank, and from that perspective, one can make an argument that they are following the ECB's guide," he added.

Japan economist Marcel Thieliant said the country's "sluggish economic activity and the stronger yen" pointed towards the need for more easing as soon as next month.

"The key sentence in [the BOJ's statement] was that the bank still sees a risk that the recent volatility on global financial markets damages business confidence and halts the conversion of the deflationary mindset," he added.

Mr Thieliant said the bank continued to face "considerable headwinds" in its battle to lift inflation to 2%.

Rest of Asia

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Investor sentiment was hurt on Tuesday by oil prices which fell by nearly 3% after Iran put off plans to join nations proposing a freeze on production

Elsewhere, Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index lost 1.45% to close at 5,111.40 points, weighed down by energy-related shares, which were down on the fall in oil prices.

BHP Billiton's Sydney-listed shares lost 3.45% and Woodside slid almost 4%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index ended the day down 0.7% at 20,288.77, while the Shanghai Composite closed 0.2% higher at 2,864.37.

South Korea's benchmark Kospi index closed down 0.12% to 1,969.95.

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