Crime rates, especially property-related crimes, tend to rise in a weak economy. The swingeing cuts in garda budgets and the closing of a zillion stations around the country has meant that it's now a splendid time to be a robber. The number of burglaries and "related offences" rose by 10.3 per cent in the last year. But the increase in robberies could have a surprise positive. Assuming that the people who have been robbed are insured, this means that they will return to the high street to buy new tellies and iPads once the insurance cheque has arrived.
Er . . . weren't we told that a deal on the bank debt was in the offing? That news stopped us wrecking the place and getting really angry with Enda's Government. Now it seems we've been sold a bit of a pup. A giant rottweiller one. The attention of the bond markets is now on Spain which will probably join us in a bail out jolly soon. Yields on nine-year Irish bonds (which tells the global investors how risky we have become) fell slightly.
Tax is a little like James Reilly's new haircut. Much better if you let a professional at it. Stripping out exceptional and infrequent items, we have paid 6.2 per cent more tax in comparison to the same period last year. Yet again, the Department of Finance got its projections wrong and the tax take is 1.5 per cent ahead of forecasts. While this is unlikely to affect budgetary arithmetic, it brings us closer to balancing the books and should ease off the austerity pressure in years to come.
The NCB Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) measures signs of life and activity in the business sector. The services bit of this grew strongly last month. In fact, Ireland outperformed the Eurozone (which is in shrinkage mode) in what was our best result in almost two years. This is in agreement with the massive increase in services exports recorded by the trade figures and points to employment opportunities, sustainability in the sector and a contribution towards economic growth.
A jump in sales of baked beans and shotgun pellets is widely seen before an economy goes into complete meltdown. Lesser meltdowns or just common and garden depressions may also be signposted by an increase in activities such as knitting. This really shows that consumers are pulling the horns back in and cutting all unnecessary spending as they try to become more self sufficient and less prone to buying things off the shelf. This knackers the high street and domestic economy. Sales of knitting needles and supplies on eBay.ie rose 25 per cent in the last month. It might also mean that we're all going to get rubbish presents for Christmas.
One of the oddest signs of any economic recovery in the US has been a spike in sales of RVs -- or recreational vehicles -- as Americans splash out on these motor behemoths to cruise the highways. Not much in the way of RVs on the motorways here in Ireland, but sales of used cars on carsireland.ie rose 6.3 per cent last week, with average prices paid falling 2.1 per cent.
Sunday Indo Business