Mar. 15, 2011 (Bloomberg) -- The Bank of Japan’s step to provide short-term liquidity and expand an asset-purchase program failed to contain investor panic today as the risk of nuclear radiation leaks north of Tokyo escalated.
BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa’s pledge yesterday to secure financial stability and prevent investors from becoming more risk averse was overwhelmed today, with the Topix index of stocks suffering its worst two-day drop since the 1987 crash. In the interbank lending market, overnight call loan rates traded between 0.08 percent and 0.13 percent, according to Ueda Yagi Tanshi Co., higher than the BOJ’s target of zero to 0.1 percent.
“The market’s chaos won’t calm down unless the BOJ will take more bold actions,” said Susumu Kato, chief economist for Japan at Credit Agricole CIB and CLSA in Tokyo. “A further plunge in stocks will pressure the BOJ into additional easing.”
While the central bank said after its policy meeting yesterday that the economy remained on course to emerge from its fourth-quarter slump, risks to consumer confidence intensified with the government’s failure to contain a crisis at a nuclear power plant. Prime Minister Naoto Kan said in a televised address that the threat of further radiation leaks is rising.