Not the normal ones, which continue to improve, but the 007 windfall from Skyfall. Sales of James Bond replica figures on Ebay.ie are up 43 per cent on 2011. With Bond back in the cinemas as Skyfall opens, the demand for dinky bits of the super agent show that some retail spending continues to survive.
Forget about all the black gold under the sea off Ireland's coast. There's something even more valuable out there. Potatoes. The price of potatoes has risen by a staggering 177.2 per cent since August 2011, according to the CSO. This isn't a typo. Prices have more than doubled in 12 months as rotten weather and short supplies have made the spud even more valuable. Things are getting bad if hard-pressed families can't even afford to buy a spud. And we thought the famine was bad!
Belgians buying stuff
While the Germans are sticking it to us big time, it seems that the Belgians are rather decent skins and are mad keen on buying Irish stuff. We've exported more stuff to Belgium than any other country in Europe in the first eight months of the year. Some €9.64bn worth of goods went to Belgium, compared with €9.42bn heading to the Brits. August exports were up 18 per cent on the same period last year with the seasonally adjusted trade surplus looking smoking hot at €4.92bn. On the downside, exports to some of the fastest growing economies in the world were downright puny. We only export €152m worth of gear to India. . . or 0.25 per cent of the total.
While the Web Summit and recent jobs announcements from Paddy Power and Kerry group were all jolly good news, back in the real world there were annual contractions in 10 of the 14 economic sectors in Q2 2012. This sectoral unemployment is causing huge strain on the economy, is the main source of forced emigration and is going to be a challenge for the nation until significant, comprehensive retraining takes place.
During that summer time of year when operators in the tourist trade make their "bread and butter" by gouging tourists there were 2,122,800 overseas visits to Ireland. This represents a fall of 2 per cent on the same period last year. The slowdown of the UK and key eurozone economies is going to whack the sector big time. Less money in people's pockets in Rochdale or Biarritz means fewer family holidays to the Burren in 2013.
Sunday Indo Business