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News Summary: Japan deflation drags on in March

The Associated Press

DEFLATION: Japan's consumer price index fell 0.9 percent in March from a year earlier, underlining the challenge of ending a long spell of debilitating deflation, or falling prices, that tend to discourage business investment and weaken growth.

UPPED FORECAST: The Bank of Japan, whose policy board left monetary policy unchanged, raised its forecast, and now expects inflation to hit a 2 percent target within two years.

UNCERTAINTIES: The central bank's forecast noted a slew of uncertainties that could skew trends in either direction, saying its outlook was based on an assumption that global financial markets will remain stable and a weakening of the yen would help boost Japan's exports.