Saturday 23 September 2017

Posh pizza toppings

When you're feeling poor, chances are that it's going to be a plain pizza with just cheese on top. You might even nibble on the box to allay those hunger pangs. Ordering extra toppings of fancy stuff like wild mushrooms or even posh sausage is that bit more expensive than the less racy ham or pepperoni. It's also an extremely positive sign of improving consumer sentiment. Base Wood Fired Pizza, which has just opened a new store in Ballsbridge, tells us that sales of premium toppings have risen -- with a 50 per cent spike in its fennell sausage pesaro pizza in the last six months.

Bond yields

Kabooom! The Greek hand-grenade has thrown markets into a wobbler. Spain is utterly bunched and Italy and France are looking like toast too. Greece is now highly likely to default and exit the euro -- which means investors are worrying which country will be next. Er. . . it might be us. Irish bond yields jumped sharply last week, hitting 7.39 per cent. At these rates, the chances of returning to the markets are zilch.

Cat-pooped coffee beans

It ranks as one of the worst jobs in the world. Sifting through the poo of a civet wildcat to scoop out partially digested coffee beans to make posh espresso for rich people in the West. And we thought that this was just a symbol of the excesses of the Celtic Tiger. Well, it's not. Kopi Luwak coffee is yum, but it costs about as much as a lump of moon rock. A cup of special Joe is 866 per cent pricier than normal peasant coffee. Java Republic has sold five times more Kopi Luwak in the first four months of the year compared with the entire period from 2008 to 2011. It's also worth noting that sales of coffee at Insomnia rose 0.8 per cent last week. Now if we could only get people to spend money on houses, new cars, sofas or pints, we'd be laughing.

Number of Irish industrial disputes

Despite the high-profile case of Vita Cortex, there has been a distinct industrial calm which has taken hold of the country in the early months of the year. According to the CSO, the number of industrial disputes has fallen by 85 per cent in Q1 2012 when compared to the same period last year. This is a positive development for the economy as industrial instability costs labour days and productivity as well as putting off potential FDI.

Euro exchange rate

The Grexit is making the euro currency look about as strong as a chocolate coin. At an exchange rate of $1.27 and £0.80, exporters have got to be pleased as Punch about the weakness -- as it helps the old bottom line. Given that we have a balance of trade and payments surplus, this means we take in more money that we pay out -- hence this is a positive development for the economy.

Purchasing managers' index

According to Ulster Bank, the Purchasing Managers' Services Index expanded for the third month in a row during April. This means that purchasing managers' orders are expanding, which feeds into the economy -- in terms of greater revenues, taxes and a contribution towards economic growth. However, at a level of 52.2 (where 50 means no change), this number is delicate and we need to see further consolidation of strength before sentiment increases significantly.

Used car sales

Sales of used motors on top motoring website carsireland.ie rose by a hefty 11.1 per cent last week with average prices up 1.3 per cent. Both of these rises would indicate stronger demand than has been seen in recent weeks -- despite the seemingly unstoppable rise in petrol prices.

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