No. 3 Japan
Japanese companies spent $65.2 billion in 2012 on business travel, representing a year-on-year decline of 1.2 percent. Reuters

The Bank of Japan stuck to its record easing, as quickening price gains are pointing to progress in its quest to end deflation.

Following a two-day meeting in Tokyo, Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda’s board maintained its decision to broaden the monetary base by an annual 60 trillion to 70 trillion yen ($671 billion), Bloomberg News reported.

Considering a BOJ-preferred inflation gauge that's more than half of its 2 percent pace target, analysts from firms such as HSBC Holdings Plc. and Daiwa Securities Co. have moved back forecasts for when the central bank could add to easing.

Before deciding on extra stimulus, policy makers may take the time to examine the sales-tax rise in April and trends in wages.

Prior to Wednesday's decision, Naoki Murakami, chief economist at Monex Inc. in Tokyo and a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. economist, noted: “The BOJ doesn’t need to act now. Inflation is coming along in line with their forecast.”

Consumer prices excluding fresh food climbed 1.2 percent in November from the previous year, the speediest pace since 2008 and near the 2 percent target established a year ago.

For the final quarter of 2013, analysts estimate that inflation was 1.1 percent, -- almost three times the 0.4 percent forecast by economists in an April survey last year, a separate poll showed.