My last post highlighted what seemed to me to be a very misleading headline in today's Western Mail. And here's another one. On page 5 we find the headline 'Economy in better shape than we thought'. The article begins "The economy grew more strongly than expected at the end of 2009, official figures showed yesterday". And the Western Mail are not alone in this lapse of judgement. I heard the BBC reporting the same sort of stuff yesterday. Don't they read these reports before they write about them.
The base on which this article has been constructed is that the Office of National Statistics has informed us that the UK economy grew by 0.3% between October and December 2009, rather than the 0.1% than was estimated at the time. Seems straight forward - but its not as it seems. Nothing like as it seems. What actually happened was that growth in the period before October has been down graded, so that the October-December started from a lower base. In fact, economic output in the period was £133 million less than estimated - the opposite of what was reported today. It was actually very bleak news indeed.
The truth of the revised figures may have escaped the media, but not the financial markets. Sterling fell and concerns about a drift back into recession increased. The ONS revised figures were not good news at all. They were dire figures - much worse than anyone had been expecting. Oh dear. You really cannot always believe what you read in the newspapers.
UPDATE - As so often happens, its the Internet that gives us the truth.