In Super Wednesday’s central bank double-header, the Federal Reserve’s show may be an afterthought to the Bank of Japan’s performance.
In a case of unusual timing, both the BOJ and the Fed will announce the outcomes of their monetary policy meetings on Wednesday. While the two major central banks frequently meet in the same week, a same-day announcement was unusual.
The BOJ statement is due around midday Japan time Wednesday and the Fed’s statement is scheduled for later in the global day, around 2 p.m. Eastern time.
But while the Fed would usually be more closely watched by global markets, this time around, the BOJ will have financial players hanging on the edge of their seats. That’s because analysts broadly expect the Fed to stand pat on policy while turning more hawkish in its statement, while the BOJ, which has promised a comprehensive assessment of its current quantitative easing and negative interest rate policies, can only surprise the wide-ranging predictions for its next moves.
“The greater uncertainty is on the BOJ and what they say. My sense is that there is a great deal of ambiguity on how the BOJ should proceed. Theirs is a much bigger meeting for markets than the Fed meeting, just because the Fed is not expected to surprise,” Thomas Lam, chief G-3 economist at RHB Securities in Singapore, told CNBC on Monday.
Analyst predictions for the BOJ’s next move varied widely, from expectations that the central bank would cut interest rates deeper into negative territory, to changing the size or make up of its quantitative easing asset purchases, to trying to steepen the yield curve or to doing nothing at all.