Sunday 11 December 2016

Trade surplus

Published 18/12/2011 | 05:00

Er. . . we don't have a plan B. Trading our way out of this economic car crash is the only scheme we've come up with. Everything from Riverdance to "stiffy in a jiffy" drugs and jellybeans are sold out of Ireland.

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Export figures are now one of the most important things to follow. Our trade surplus -- the amount we sell abroad against the amount we import, fell slightly from €4.2bn to €3.7bn in October. The value of exports fell from €8.01bn to €7.65bn, representing a 4.5 per cent drop. But there are sometimes major monthly gyrations and export volumes are up 4.1 per cent in the year to September. But any wobble isn't helpful.

Equally weighted basket of ISEQ shares

After 15 EU summits, they still haven't come up with a solution. Apparently summits seven to 10 were taken up looking for the remote control for the big television. Despite light trading, the markets went splat for the millionth time in four years with our equally weighted basket of ISEQ stocks down more than 4 per cent. Investors are steering clear of the Irish story.

Taxis

They may smell a bit and may have some pretty iffy views on people who aren't from around here, but taxis are a real indicator of how much money is sloshing around the system. Taxis are a luxury expense in many cases and any spending on that kind of stuff has dried up over the last three years, as we stuff newspapers in our shoes and walk home from the pub. But according to directory inquiry firm 11890 figures, queries for taxis have increased by 16 per cent since last week.

Latte sales

Sales of hot drinks at Insomnia are up 0.01 per cent compared with a same week last year. There's a noticeable jump in some of the speciality drinks with stuff like hazelnut hot chocolate (yum) up 4 per cent. Herbal teas are up 12 per cent, too. Spending on anything is positive.

Lending to SMEs

Even though they say it a lot, it doesn't mean that it's true. Despite the banks' glossy brochures' marketing the message that they are open to business, according to the Central Bank, lending to SMEs decreased by €2.5bn in Q3 in comparison with Q3 2011. This level of lending is even a contraction of €300m on the Q2. This is utterly disastrous for our recovery as small- and medium-sized businesses need credit to bridge the gap between buying supplies and selling goods.

Euro exchange rate

As people nervously ask and contemplate what they would do if we returned to the punt, people and institutions are selling the euro outright. This is actually a good thing for us, as the weaker the euro, the less expensive our goods are. In fact, the euro falling under $1.30 and £0.83 acts as a stimulus for our economy, since our exports are much higher than our imports.

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