A rare session of North Korea's parliament, presided over by Kim Jong-Un, ended with no mention of the limited economic reforms reportedly being pushed by the new, young leader.
The rubber-stamp parliament last convened in April and the unusual move to hold two sessions in the same year had fuelled speculation that the assembly was convened to formalise nascent experiments with market reforms.
However, the state Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) only reported a decision to expand compulsory schooling from 11 to 12 years, as well as a minor reshuffle in the parliament's standing committee.
North Korea has one of the world's most rigidly-controlled economies and is desperately poor following decades of mismanagement and isolation, as well as the imposition of international sanctions over its nuclear programme.
North Korea watchers and media reports in South Korea say Kim Jong-Un has shown signs of promoting market reforms since taking power following the death of his father Kim Jong-Il last December.
He has made several public statements on the need to improve living standards, and there have been signs of policy trials, including incentives for workers and farmers to boost productivity.
One reported change would see the North's regime taking only 70 per cent of the harvest from collective farms, allowing farmers to keep or sell the remainder.
South Korean analysts said the absence of any mention of economic reforms at Tuesday's assembly meeting suggested Pyongyang was still not ready to move beyond the trial stage towards institutionalised change.
"It doesn't mean the North is slowing down its potential reform efforts," said Paik Hak-Soon, a North Korea expert at the Sejong Institute, an independent think-tank.
"This is a country where the (Communist) party is at the core of every single piece of decision making, not the parliament.
"I was hoping the North would go all the way to institutionalising economic reform measures at the parliament... but I guess they've decided to do things in a more low-key way than we expected," Paik said.
The caution is understandable given the results of Pyongyang's past attempts at freeing up the economy.
Limited market reforms were introduced in 2002 to revive an economy which had begun to collapse in the 1990s, as subsidised imports of fuel and food from the former Soviet Union and its European satellite nations dried up.
The resulting boom in street markets and general trading activity across the nation was seen as a threat to government control and most of the reforms were rolled back three years later.
Then there was a disastrous currency "revaluation" in 2009 which resulted in an inflationary surge that wiped out people's savings and triggered rare public protests.
"As a whole, today's announcement means the North's economic reform still remains at an experimental level and has not reached the point where it can be enshrined in laws to be approved by the assembly," Soongsil University professor Lee Jung-Chul told AFP.
Andrei Lankov, a Russian professor at Seoul's Kookmin University, said it seemed clear that Kim Jong-Un was looking to move the economy in a new direction.
The obvious model, Lankov said, would be a Chinese-style "development dictatorship" combining an authoritarian political structure with a market economy.
However, this would inevitably require an initial period of uncertainty as any market changes took root.
"A reforming North Korea will likely be very unstable," Lankov said.