Tightening prospects fade in Japan

The prospects for a rate hike in Japan in the near future have become even smaller after a quarterly report by the Bank of Japan indicated that economic conditions have worsened in eight of the country's nine regions since April.

"Growth of the economy as a whole continued slowing recently, mainly due to the effects of high energy and material prices, although there were some regional differences," the report noted.

Economists now expect interest rates to remain on hold until at least mid-200