Japanese Stocks Climb as BoJ Keeps Rates Steady

Asia Pacific markets mostly traded higher on Friday as investors reacted to the Bank of Japan's monetary policy decision as well as an overnight vote from U.K. lawmakers that could potentially delay its exit from the European Union.

The Nikkei 225 average climbed 163.83 points, or 0.8%, to close out the week at 21,450.85

The yen traded relatively flat at 111.67 to the U.S. dollar after weakening from levels near 111.00 earlier in the week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index gained 160.87 points, or 0.6%, to 29,012.26

The Bank of Japan kept its monetary policy steady on Friday in a widely expected move. The short-term interest rate will remain at minus 0.1%. The central bank said it will purchase Japanese government bonds so that the 10-year JGB yields will remain at around zero percent. Bond yields move inversely to price.

In its policy statement, the BOJ offered a relatively weak assessment of the Japanese economy and predicted it will "continue its moderate expansion, despite being affected by the slowdown in overseas economies for the time being."

Low inflation has forced the Bank of Japan to stick with a massive stimulus program despite rising costs.


The CSI 300 index recouped 46.51 points, or 1.3%, to 3,745

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Friday that Beijing will remain supportive of the Chinese economy as it faces new pressures on growth. He was speaking with reporters after the closing ceremony at the annual National People's Congress.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday the U.S. will probably know in the next three or four weeks about a possible trade deal with China.

Chinese negotiators, meanwhile, have suggested combining a long-discussed state visit by President Xi Jinping to the U.S. with the announcement of any forthcoming agreement — they also said Beijing wants a deal to be fully ironed out before Xi sat down with Trump.

For his part, Li on Friday did not disclose details on the latest progress of the trade talks. He emphasized that the United States and China remained in close discussions, and expressed confidence that both sides had enough wisdom to diffuse tensions.

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index notched a gain of 2.26 points, or 0.1%, to 3,200.18

Korea’s Kospi Index added 20.43 points, or 1%, to 2,176.11

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index picked up 90.59 points, or 0.9%, to 10,439.24

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 shot higher 37.77 points, or 0.4%, to 9,473.27

In Australia, the ASX 200 dropped 4.42 points, or 0.1%, to 6,175.17