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Monday, March 31, 2003

Hello?

Another item for Brad DeLong to bang his head on a wall about:

Those concerned that the US administration pays insufficient attention to the rest of the world will not be reassured by moves afoot at the US Treasury.

For years the Treasury has had a 24-hour operator service which can put callers in touch with its top officials at times of crisis. Given that financial upsets can erupt at any time, this has proved invaluable at times of high stress in global finance.

But Observer hears that the Treasury, to the consternation of some of its own officials, plans to cut this back to a 7am-10.30pm service. Outside those hours, if you don't have John Snow's cellphone number, you will just have to wait.

This is not too bad if like, say, the oft crisis-hit region of Latin America, your market trading hours coincide with Treasury opening time. But Asian countries should resolve to have crises late at night or very early in the morning if they want US input.