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National News: Top Stories
The Bank of Japan held off launching fresh monetary easing measures Tuesday, saying the economy was picking up, despite slowing growth in the last quarter of 2013 and fears that a looming tax hike will dent the recovery. "Japan's economy has continued to recover moderately, and a front-loaded increase in demand prior to the consumption tax hike has been observed," the BoJ said in a statement. Analysts widely expected the BoJ to stand pat, with the focus now on regular post-meeting comments from bank governor Haruhiko Kuroda. Markets are looking for signs that the bank is prepared to launch further measures to counter any slowdown caused by April's sales tax hike, which critics fear will derail Japan's economic recovery.