The Bank of Japan’s massive asset purchase program has taken it into uncharted territory, with its ballooning holdings now larger than the country’s economy.

The BOJ’s total assets reached 553.6 trillion yen ($4.9 trillion) as of Nov. 10, the central bank said Tuesday. That’s bigger than Japan’s nominal gross domestic product of 552.8 trillion yen as of the end of June, according to Cabinet Office data. Figures due Wednesday as expected to show the economy contracted in the quarter through September, widening the gap.

With inflation at half the 2 percent level targeted by both the BOJ and the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, asset purchases are set to continue for the foreseeable future, even if the pace of growth slows. A sales-tax hike planned for October next year, followed by an easing in demand as the building boom for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics winds down, likely mean continued pressure on the central bank to keep priming the economy.

“There’s no consensus theory on how big a central bank’s holdings can get before it starts getting dangerous," said Nobuyasu Atago, chief economist at Okasan Securities Co. and a former BOJ official. “There’s a vague sense of unease when the holdings keep getting larger, but it’s unclear at what level things should stop."

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed)

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