A new scheme to encourage financial institutions to boost lending and investment for fighting climate change has been launched by The Bank of Japan (BOJ), in a surprise move underscoring the growing attention central banks are putting on the topic.
The BOJ said it expects to reveal the scheme by the end of this year, and will release a preliminary outline of the scheme at its next policy-setting meeting in July.
“Climate change issues could exert an extremely large impact on economic activity, prices and financial conditions from a medium- to long-term perspective,” the BOJ said in a statement.
“Supporting private-sector efforts from a central bank’s standpoint will contribute to stabilizing the economy in the long run,” it said.
As widely expected, the BOJ kept its yield curve control target at -0.1 percent for short-term rates and 0 percent for 10-year bond yields at the two-day rate review that ended on Friday.
The central bank also decided to extend by six months the September deadline for asset-buying and loan programs introduced last year to channel funds to pandemic-hit firms.
Japan’s economy shrank an annualized 3.9 percent in the first three months and is seen making only a modest rebound, if any, in the current quarter as anti-virus measures weigh on consumption.
Core consumer prices in May rose 0.1 percent from a year earlier, marking the first year-on-year increase since March 2020 but remaining far distant from the BOJ’s 2 percent goal.
A recent pick-up in the pace of COVID-19 vaccine inoculations has heightened hopes among policymakers that a rebound in consumption, combined with already robust exports, may accelerate the economic recovery in the latter half of this year.