TOKYO, Feb 26 Reuters The Bank of Japan bought exchangetraded funds ETFs on Friday for the first time this month as Tokyo stock prices slumped, data showed, in a sign the central bank is becoming more flexible with its asset purchases.
The central bank last bought ETFs on Jan. 28 and held off buying more as Japans share prices hit their highest in three decades in line with a global stock market rally.
The fact it stepped in on Friday, when Japans Nikkei suffered its biggest oneday fall since April, underscored the banks new approach of intervening only when markets become volatile, analysts said.
The BOJ bought 5 million yen 47,068 worth of ETFs on Friday, central bank data showed.
The BOJ has been buying ETFs for a decade as part of efforts to drag the worlds thirdbiggest economy out of deflation.
Its policy at the moment is to buy ETFs at an average annual pace of roughly 6 trillion yen, a commitment that forces it to keep buying even when stocks are booming.
Some analysts saw the BOJs moves in February as a prelude to what may come out of a March review of its policy tools to make its assetbuying programme more nimble.
When stock prices were booming like they did in February, it didnt make sense for the BOJ to keep buying ETFs, said Izuru Kato, chief economist at Totan Research.
The March review will be mostly about spelling out in language what the BOJ actually did in February, he said.
The BOJ has said its ETFbuying programme will be among tools it could…