Business

Saturday 16 December 2017

Irish music sales

Nicki Minaj has her knockers... but she's well able to shift a few records. Even so, it's bloody hard being a retailer, especially one in the music and entertainment industry.

Overall Irish sales of CDs fell 19 per cent, with Irish sales of DVDs down 13 per cent last year. But while iconic Irish record store Golden Discs reported a drop of 4.4 per cent in sales over the last year, it massively outperformed the market. The Irish firm improved its trading position massively with losses shrinking from €1.6m in 2009 to just 73,000 last year. Golden Discs is also opening new stores. Balls of steel in this market -- but fair play to them.

House prices

There seem to be two property markets operating in Ireland now. Prices for houses and apartments in Dublin have risen for the second month in a row. This is the first time this has happened since February 2007. Apartment prices actually rose 2.6 per cent! Outside of Dublin though, things are still miserable, with CSO data showing prices falling 2 per cent month on month. Rental figures are also strong in Dublin, which would seem to indicate that the market may just be turning. Is it a blip or is it the start of a recovery?

Irish bonds

The cost of borrowing spiked again last week, hitting 7.5 per cent over the twin fears -- a) that Greece would leave the euro, and b) the Spanish banks were bunched. The Fiscal Treaty Referendum has become pretty much irrelevant at this stage, as events have moved beyond it.

Empty shipping containers

The weak import market has meant that there aren't enough of those big shipping containers to go around for all of the country's exporters. So, we've started to bring in empty containers. In the first quarter of the year, the number of empty containers brought into Ireland rose by 5 per cent. They were all filled up with goodies and stuck back on a ship to be exported abroad. Even though demand abroad is weak, the resilience of the export market is a massive plus.

Euro exchange rates

The euro is continuing its slide and actually hit $1.25 last week. Short sellers are having a field day as it looks as if bumbling European leaders will only manage to make things worse. On the plus side, the weak euro means that exporters are quids-in. A weak euro coupled with the aversion of utter disaster would be nice.

GDP projections by OECD

The OECD called for a joint issue of eurozone bonds this week, which fell on deaf ears in Germany. The OECD is becoming more concerned that the debt crisis will push eurozone economies further into the red. As a result, it has cut our economic projections in 2013 by 0.3 per cent. This is bad news for the Irish economy, as a public announcement of this nature may serve as a further attack on confidence, tightening people's pockets even further.

Picnic baskets

We're getting more like Greece by the day. The sun is splitting the stones and lots of our old buildings are crumbling due to lack of funding. But the jolly nice weather has seen Irish consumers opening their wallets and spending some money. Latest eBay.ie stats show that sales of picnic baskets have risen by 12 per cent over the last year! Any upward movement in consumer spending is positive for the economy.

Sunday Indo Business

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