• Kyodo

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The “economy watchers” index of business confidence tied a record high in March as hopes grew that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pursuit of drastic monetary easing and big public works projects would give the economy a temporary shot in the arm, the government said Monday.

The index, also called the diffusion index, gauges sentiment based on the opinions of those on the front lines of the economy, including taxi drivers and hotel and restaurant workers. Respondents are asked whether economic conditions are improving or deteriorating compared with three months before. A reading of 50 indicates those polled generally believe economic conditions are flat.

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