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TOKYO (MNI)

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Friday the central bank has no plans to change its policy framework or its negative rate policy and will continue to seek a way to hit the elusive 2% price target.

"Downward pressure stemming from coronavirus on economy and prices will be prolonged," making it difficult for the BOJ to achieve the 2% price target, Kuroda told reporters. Kuroda added that there were no plans to change either the framework or price target, but said the BOJ would assess its easy policy, reviewing the conduct of the monetary policy, including open market operations and the scale of each asset purchases, but he stressed there would be no pull back or plans for an early exit from its easy policy.

Kuroda said he hadn't considered shortening the long-term policy rate from the 10-year zone, repeating the view that an excessive drop of super long-term bond yields is undesirable..

NO STRONG CONCERN OVER YEN IMPACT

Answering question on forex levels, particularly against the dollar, Kuroda said that the bank is carefully watching forex moves and impacts on the economy and prices, although he said there were no serious concerns at present.

Earlier in the day, the BOJ stood pat on monetary policy but to extend the lending facility, which is due to expire March 31, to September 30 as corporate financing conditions remain severe.

He said the current lending measures put in place by the government and the BOJ are producing the intended effects, but warned that corporate financing remained pressured due in part to the weakness in firms' financial positions. "If necessary, the BOJ will further extend the (banks own lending) facility," Kuroda said.

UNDERLYING PRICES A SMALL POSITIVE

Kuroda said that Japan's consumer price index, excluding temporary downward pressures, is at a small positive and the risk is small that the economy will fall into deflation. Japan's core CPI fell 0.9% y/y in November, for the largest drop in almost 10 years.

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