Bank of Japan steps up support for corporates

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The Bank of Japan (BoJ) plans to expand its programme of supporting corporate debt, in an attempt to shore up the country's rapidly contracting economy.

In March, the central bank will start regular purchases of short-dated corporate bonds with credit ratings of at least A and residual maturities of up to a year. The bank will buy up to Yen1 trillion ($10.8 billion) in corporate bonds until the end of September, limiting purchases to Yen50 billion from any one issuer.

The bank is also stepping u