Daily Archives: April 1, 2010

Chris Giles

British newspapers have an honourable tradition of playing April fools jokes on their readers on 1 April. It always cheers me up when I spot them. Today, British business leaders showed a wonderfully understated sense of humour by writing a spoof letter to the Daily Telegraph, which was also the splash in the paper.

The letter opposed Labour’s proposed rise in national insurance as a tax on jobs that will endanger the recovery and praised Conservative plans to cut government spending in 2010-11 instead. So much, so normal. But the gags come in the reasoning, where the cream of British business has gone out of its way to show its funny side. 

Robin Harding

On Japan’s Tankan business survey Capital Economics note that:

…large companies say they plan to reduce capital spending by 0.4 per cent in the fiscal year which started today (in line with consensus and the smallest decline in a March Tankan since FY 2007). These estimates are usually revised higher during the year so this small fall will probably turn into a decent increase. 

Robin Harding

Japan’s quarterly Tankan is one of the best bits of economic data in the world: how many other business surveys cover 11,528 companies with a 98.7 per cent response rate?

It’s fascinating to look a bit beyond the main diffusion index for large corporations, which has risen from -23 in December to -14 in March. The diffusion index measures the number of businesses saying that conditions are ‘favourable’ minus the number saying they are ‘unfavourable’. 

By Francesco Guerrera, US finance and business editor

[Roll of drums, spotlight on the New York Federal Reserve] And the answer is: 161 pages of pretty incomprehensible documents