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TOKYO: The Bank of Japan on Friday stuck to its long-held monetary easing policy even as other central banks around the world hike interest rates to tame inflation.

But it said it would “pay due attention” to foreign exchange markets, a rare comment that comes after the yen hit a 24-year low against the dollar.

In a statement following a two-day policy meeting, the BoJ kept in place its rate of minus 0.1 percent — part of a decade-old action plan aimed at boosting the world’s third-largest economy — bucking pressure to address the impact of a weaker yen.

Its decision runs counter to a global tightening trend to tackle sky-high fuel and food prices linked to the war in Ukraine and supply chain snarls. Global interest rate hikes have been led by the US Federal Reserve, which this week announced its most aggressive increase in nearly 30 years, and signalled more ahead in a battle to drive down inflation.

The European Central Bank also plans to start a series of rate increases next month, while the Bank of England announced a fifth straight increase on Thursday and Switzerland surprised markets with its own increase, the first since 2007.

The widening chasm between Japanese and US monetary policy has pushed the yen to its lowest level against the dollar since 1998, a cause for increasing concern that even the central bank made reference to.

“It is necessary to pay due attention to developments in financial and foreign exchange markets and their impact on Japan’s economic activity and prices,” the BoJ said, in an unusual reference to forex movements.

After the announcement, one dollar bought 134.23 yen, up from 133.41 yen earlier in the day.

Inflation has been rising for months in the United States and elsewhere as buoyant demand for homes, cars and other goods clashes with supply chain snarls in parts of the world where Covid-19 has been, or remains, a challenge.

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