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Last Updated: Monday, 27 November 2006, 11:16 GMT
Bank of Japan is patient on rates
Bank of Japan Governor Toshihiko Fukui
Mr Fukui is looking for continuing economic growth
Bank of Japan governor Toshihiko Fukui has reaffirmed the central bank's commitment to raising interest rates in a gradual manner.

Saying the Bank did not want to stand in the way of Japan's ongoing economic recovery, analysts said his comments made a December rate rise less likely.

The Bank raised interest rates to the current 0.25% level in July, ending five years of zero rates.

Most analysts now expect a further rate rise in January.

'Sustainable expansion'

"As I have been repeatedly saying, we will adjust interest rates gradually," said Mr Fukui.

"This will avoid impeding the expansion of Japan's economy and will instead facilitate the realisation of sustainable economic expansion."

The Bank of Japan is next meeting to discuss interest rates on 18-19 December, with a minority of analysts still expecting to see a rate rise before Christmas.

Recent data showed that Japan's economy grew more strongly than expected in the three months to the end of September, but consumer demand remained sluggish.

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