Capital Markets

Bank of Japan Jumps into Commercial Paper Market

It is adjusting its credit risks to reflect the move.
Stephen TaubJanuary 22, 2009

The Bank of Japan is buying commercial paper to facilitate its corporate financing, making outright purchases of corporate bonds with a maturity of up to one year.

The bank said that it would properly manage credit risks arising from the purchases. “The bank will set certain conditions on financial instruments to be purchased in terms of their creditworthiness and residual maturities,” it added in a press release. “The bank will also set a limit on the total amount of purchases and take measures to avoid concentration of credit risks in a specific firm.”

Governor Masaaki Shirakawa told reporters that the “mechanism of the corporate bond market has deteriorated sharply,” according to Bloomberg News. He said the central bank will focus on trying to bring down longer-term borrowing costs. The overnight lending rate is currently at 0.1 percent.

Under the central bank’s plan, it will begin purchasing up to three trillion yen of A-1 rated commercial paper or asset-backed paper with a maturity of up to three months.

 It stressed that it would not buy more than 100 billion yen of a single issuer. All purchases will take place by March 31.

“Outright purchases of corporate financing instruments should be regarded as an exceptional measure for a central bank, and their implementation as well as ways to implement them should be examined accordingly,” the bank asserted. They should only take place when there is a significant rise in interest rates regardless of the issuing firm’s conditions, leading to tight corporate financing conditions on the whole, it added.

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