The Bank of Japan has bowed to pressure from the new government with a plan for a bigger than expected financial stimulus
Fears of deepening recession in the developed world gnawed at investors on Thursday, after glum earnings from US corporate stalwarts.
Japanese industrial production fell 9,6% in December and core inflation almost evaporated, reinforcing expectations of a record economic contraction.
Japan plans to use public money to help the companies hardest hit by the global financial crisis.
Masaaki Shirakawa, the Bank of Japan's acting governor, has warned that the country's economy faces an uncertain future. It comes at the end of a week in which the Nikkei share index sank to its lowest level for almost three years. Shirakawa took up the post after Parliament failed to agree on a long-term appointment.
Global economic growth is "robust" but inflation risks remain as markets absorb the impact of the United States subprime crisis and higher food prices, European Central Bank (ECB) chief Jean-Claude Trichet said on Monday. "Food is a very big problem" stoking inflationary pressures, Trichet said.
Record high oil prices at $135 a barrel deepened worries about inflation on Thursday and weighed on some Asian stocks although Japanese shares ended slightly higher, as dealers trimmed their bets on further weakness. The dollar trudged higher against the euro after earlier hitting a one-month low after the Federal Reserve slashed its United States 2008 growth forecast
United States President George Bush will outline reforms on Friday to help struggling subprime mortgage borrowers and his central bank chief will deliver a speech which will be pored over for hints of a looming rate cut. Federal Reserve chairperson Ben Bernanke speaks on "Housing and Monetary Policy" at around 2pm GMT.