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House prices

August 2006 saw Shakira topping the music charts with the mind-numbingly awful Hips Don't Lie, while Samuel L Jackson's Snakes on a Plane was in the cinemas. It was also the last time that property prices jumped by more than 2.3 per cent in Dublin -- until now. Last month, Dublin property prices rose by 2.4 per cent. For the third month in a row, the national average of the price of a house has increased and the pace is accelerating from 0.2 per cent in July, 0.5 per cent in August and 0.9 per cent in September. It's not a recovery but a definite sign of a stabilisation.

Debt to GDP

So we believe Angela Merkel that everything is cool now? Not in a billion years. With an German election looming next year, the chances of Merkel rubber-stamping a debt deal for Ireland are close to zero. Despite statements to the contrary, she's got to know that the home front would crucify her if she stopped squeezing us to death. The Spanish, Greeks, Italians, Portuguese and Cypriots would be banging on her door. Expect Frau Merkel to aim her panzerfaust at the process again. In the meantime, the situation still looks horrible, with Ireland's debt to GDP rising. It's up about 3 per cent in the last quarter to 111.5 per cent, according to Eurostat. Unsustainable or what!

Call centre hell

While attracting the big-name technology companies to Ireland is well and good, are their staff actually doing anything useful? The multinationals aren't all full of Irish PhDs in lab coats inventing cools stuff to change the world. Many of these high-profile jobs are simply call centre posts, or "contact centre sector" work. The numbers in these jobs have risen from 29,000 to 33,000 over the last year, with PayPal, SAP, BSkyB and EA all adding jobs. New jobs are needed, but are they the right sort?

High street footfall

There are more people walking up and down Dublin's key shopping streets. Footfall numbers in the third quarter of 2012 were 16.7 per cent better than in the same period last year. There's 11,400 pedestrians per hour on Grafton Street and about 11,000 per hour on Henry Street. But are they buying stuff?

Bond yields

What was the nine-year bond last week became an eight-year note this week, as the said government stock matures on October 18, 2020. As Ireland is negotiating the legacy bank debt under the title of a "special case", investors continue to stockpile our government debt, pushing the cost of borrowing to a remarkably low 4.51 per cent for a country still in a bailout programme, a significant drop of 0.5 per cent in just two weeks.

Ease of doing business

Ireland is the 15th easiest country in the world in which to do business, according to a new World Bank report. That's out of 185 countries, which isn't too shabby. However, we've fallen out of the top 10. Silly red tape, dumb new charges, an utterly broken banking system and thousands of unemployed people who are only able to do bricklaying hasn't really helped.

Dublin Chamber's hopes

Six out of every seven businesses expect that their levels of business will remain stable or increase in the coming quarter, according to a new survey by the Dublin Chamber of Commerce. It appears that the small business community in Dublin, the engine of job creation and sustenance in the Capital is decoupling from the gloomy outlook of the economy. Whilst this is a polarised result from our most densely populated urban environment, it is a positive sign -- and if it comes to pass, it may well lead to a ripple effect throughout the economy.

Sunday Indo Business