BOJ may hold rates down until 2008

The Bank of Japan may hold its key interest rate near zero per cent until 2008 as declines in rice and electricity prices fuel deflation, Mizuho Securities Co. economist Yasunari Ueno wrote in a report, according to Bloomberg News.

Rice will probably drop starting in October, cutting as much as 0.21 percentage point from core consumer prices, a measure of deflation that gauges costs excluding fresh food. A reduction in electricity costs may shave up to 0.13 percentage point off the index, Uen

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