With apologies to Joan Sims and Sid James. I wish the line was originally mine, but Jeremy Stretch, our currency analyst from Rabobank, should get the credit for the allusion this morning to the Pinewood comedies of the 1960s.
The Bank of Japan raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point to 0.5% Wednesday, the highest level in more than 10 years.
Traders remain jittery about the possibility of an interest rate hike by the Bank of Japan as the central bank kicks off a two-day policy meeting on Tuesday, though markets are still split on the chances of a rate rise.
Japan's economy grew a stronger-than-expected 1.2% in the last three months of 2006, marking the fastest growth in nearly three years and reviving expectations of an interest rate hike by the Bank of Japan next week.
Honda Motor said on Tuesday it would recall 45,335 Civic hybrid cars globally to fix a faulty voltage converter that could cause a short circuit and stop the engine.
Japanese wholesale prices rose less than expected in January from a year earlier, a sign that price growth remains tame, and investors now await GDP data later this week to see whether the Bank of Japan is likely to raise interest rates next week.
Remember the collapse of the Russian ruble in 1998--that led to the near-collapse of hedge fund giant Long Term Capital Management? Recent trends in the Japanese yen have investors worried that the currency is destined for a similar fate as befell the ruble.
Nissan Motor reported a bigger-than-expected 23% fall in quarterly net profit on Friday, hurt by a sluggish recovery in U.S. sales, and lowered its full-year forecasts despite a weaker yen.
Japanese electronics giant Sony reported a drop in quarterly profit Tuesday, but boosted its earnings outlook for the full year.
Wal-Mart Stores' Japanese subsidiary, Seiyu, on Tuesday forecast a wider net loss for 2006 due to sluggish sales, making it its fifth straight year of losses. Seiyu estimated its group net loss at 55.8 billion yen ($459 million) instead of its earlier projection of a 54.5 billion yen loss for the year ended December. The new forecast is in line with a consensus projection by four analysts for 55.6 billion yen, according to Reuters Estimates.
Japan's household spending fell more than expected and the jobless rate rose slightly in December, underlining sluggishness in consumption and raising the hurdle for the Bank of Japan to lift interest rates next month.
Japanese consumer prices rose less than expected in December from a year ago, adding to doubts over the Bank of Japan's ability to raise interest rates next month, sending the yen lower and bond futures to a one-month high.
Japan's trade surplus rose a weaker-than-expected 22.8% in December from a year earlier amid concerns that a slowdown in the U.S. economy may hurt Japanese exports.
"Overall, 52% of CEOs are 'very confident' and 40% 'somewhat confident” about revenue growth over the next year -- more than double the level of 2001."
The Tokyo and New York stock exchanges are in the final stages of alliance talks and may come to an agreement as soon as the end of the month, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing the head of the Tokyo exchange.
Japan's current account surplus expanded 21.5% from a year earlier in November, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday, highlighting a healthy demand overseas for Japanese exports.
The Bank of Japan is likely to keep interest rates on hold this week, although the central bank's policy board has not entirely ruled out a rate rise, according to a report on the Web site of Japan's largest business daily.
Machinery orders at Japanese firms rose more than expected in November from October, signaling firm capital spending and reinforcing market expectations that the Bank of Japan could raise rates this week.
A sobering assessment of growth prospects in the developed world from Carl Weinberg, High Frequency Economics.
Sony's long-awaited PlayStation 3 may have missed its global shipment target and been beaten in its home market by rival Nintendo's surprise hit Wii video game system, new figures show.