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G. X% up; Y% same; Z% down – have limited significance, but changes over time in reply percentages signify a change in the variables surveyed. Thus business tendency survey data only become useful for analytic purposes when they are presented in the form of a time series. However it is difficult to interpret the movements over time of all three percentages when they are presented simultaneously. Chart 1 demonstrates this. C H A R T 1 . P R O D U C T IO N T E N D E N C Y R E P L A Y O P T IO N S : U P , S A M E , D O W N 80 Up S am e 70 Down PERCENT REPORTING 60 50 40 30 20 10 Ju l-9 7 O ct -9 7 n97 Ap r-9 7 Ja Ju l-9 6 O ct -9 6 n96 Ap r-9 6 Ja Ju l-9 5 O ct -9 5 n95 Ap r-9 5 Ja Ju l-9 4 O ct -9 4 n94 Ap r-9 4 Ja Ju l-9 3 O ct -9 3 n93 Ap r-9 3 Ja Ju l-9 2 O ct -9 2 Ja n92 Ap r-9 2 0 Source: The Report on Business, National Association of Purchasing Management, United States 31 97.

In addition, it could contain enterprise-specific information, if such information is available. For example it could include sectoral and branch forecasts for key sectors of interest to particular enterprises in a particular industry. Specific forecast for individual enterprises participating in the survey could also be prepared on request. 54 Table 2. Business survey reports for different users Reports/users Focus of information Content Press release Main features Text, survey characteristics Analysts Overview Main features by sectors Text, graphs, tables Detailed data Survey characteristics Interpretation of results Methodolgical information Respondents Overview Main features by sectors Enterprise specific information Text, graphs, tables Detailed data Special tabulations Survey characteristics Interpretation of results Methodological information 184.

From these last two equations it is clear that balances and diffusion indices have exactly the same information content. A diffusion index is just another way of presenting the same information that is contained in the balances, although the scales are different. In practice, balances are the commonest way of presenting the results of business tendency surveys and remainder of this Handbook deals only with balances. Balances can, however, be easily converted to diffusion indices using equation (4).

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