Japanese companies think the country will fall short of its 2% inflation goal, despite a flood of stimulus from the Bank of Japan.
The firms believe inflation will be 1.5% a year from now, before climbing to 1.7% in 2017 and 2019, according to a survey of more than 10,000 companies released Wednesday by the central bank.
The inflation survey is the first of its kind, which makes it difficult to draw any conclusions about the success of Abenomics -- the economics strategy championed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that hinges on rising prices.
The idea is that aggressive monetary easing, combined with more government spending, could push up prices and end years of deflation, leading to more robust growth for the world's third largest economy.
Masamichi Adachi, a JPMorgan economist, said the data could prove to be an important signpost for the BoJ as it tries to gauge inflation expectations. But the results are difficult to interpret with regard to Abenomics.
Idachi said that some will see the survey as evidence that the business sector does not believe the 2% goal is realistic. Others will argue that 1.7% is close to 2%, and expectations could rise further.
"At least," he said, "the BoJ can argue that firms do not have a deflation mindset anymore, due to the Bank's efforts."
Should the central bank itself determine that Japan does not have enough momentum to meet its inflation goal, investors should be on lookout for more stimulus to enter the pipeline.
Time is running out to sign up for individual health insurance. And if you don't have some type of coverage this year, be prepared to pay a penalty.
Obamacare requires most Americans to get insurance through an employer, the government or directly from an insurer in 2014. If they don't, they have to fork over a fee to the Internal Revenue Service at tax time.
Uninsured adults will either pay a flat MORETami Luhby - Mar 10, 2014 6:00 AM ET
Employees are shelling out 28% more for workplace health benefits than just three years ago.
Most probably realize their monthly premiums are going up because they see more taken out of their paychecks. Workers are seeing their premiums rise year after year, going up by 19% on average since 2011, according to a report issued Thursday by Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health.
This is happening though the overall growth in health MORETami Luhby - Mar 6, 2014 9:56 AM ET
Cold weather can freeze the job market.
Snowstorms have become the excuse du jour for weak job growth this winter. After months of stronger job growth, hiring was weak in both December and January, and now economists are expecting more mediocre numbers for February.
Economists surveyed by CNNMoney expect only 150,000 jobs were added during the month. The Labor Department plans to release the official numbers on Friday.
It may seem odd that a MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Mar 5, 2014 10:32 AM ET
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