The Bank of Japan is considering expanding its monetary easing policy by further raising its target for corporate bond and commercial paper purchases in a bid to support companies hit by the coronavirus pandemic, sources close to the matter said Thursday.

It will discuss the move at next Monday's policy meeting, having decided at the previous meeting in March to expand the purchase target for such corporate debt by 2 trillion yen ($19 billion) until the end of September.

The BOJ is hoping to help firms secure funds more easily as concerns deepen over the economic fallout from the pneumonia-causing virus.

It is expected to also discuss measures to increase loans to financial institutions and help boost bank lending to companies by accepting a wider range of collateral, the sources said.

The BOJ said next week's policy meeting, originally scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, will be shortened to one day.

In March, the central bank decided to provide one-year loans with no interest to financial institutions against corporate debt worth about 8 trillion yen held as collateral.

The BOJ is expected to keep its short-term interest rate unchanged at minus 0.1 percent, the sources said.

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