HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- The Bank of Japan's policy board raised its key interest rate by a quarter percentage-point to 0.25% Friday, ending the nation's five-year old policy of keeping interest rates near zero.
The central bank also opted to boost the official discount rate, or the interest rate banks charge each other in the interbank market, to 0.4% from 0.1%. The BOJ kept unchanged its government bond purchases each month at 1.2 trillion yen.
The rate hikes will take effect immediately.
The policy shift puts the rate above zero for the first time since March 2001.