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Byline: LAURA MANDARO
The Bank of Japan ended its ultraloose monetary policy Thursday, saying it would start sopping up excess cash in the financial system and prompting speculation that the central bank could start lifting rates from the current 0% by year-end.
The move, largely anticipated by financial markets, confirmed that the world's No. 2 economy is recovering from a lengthy slump.
In the fourth quarter, Japan's real GDP rose an annualized 5.5%; that's the fourth straight quarter of growth. After years of deflation that sapped consumer spending and capital investment, prices have climbed vs. a year before for three straight months.