Business Irish

Sunday 25 February 2018

Recovery index: Cardboard boxes

Cardboard jousting - could this craze be sweeping the nation?
Cardboard jousting - could this craze be sweeping the nation?

Increased sales of cardboard boxes means one of three things: (A) everyone's playing cardboard jousting; (B) we're so broke that we have to live in them; or (C) we need boxes to store or carry stuff, which is an indicator of health in the property market.

Latest stats from show that there was a 30.4 per cent jump in posting and packaging supplies compared with the same period last year.

Stock of properties for sale on website

For the first time since the recovery index was launched, the volume of properties for sale on has fallen below 58,000 -- hitting 57,452 last week.

The five-bedroom house sector has seen a big fall with the number of houses for sale dipping below 6,000 for the first time.

Any reduction in the glut of properties on the market is hugely positive, especially after the CSO reports a 14.6 per cent drop in house prices in the year to September.

Irish bond yields

Well the markets seem pleased enough. Europe has come up with a solution that's one part fudge, another part muddle with a pinch of desperation. Aren't we proud?

Greece has been sort of rescued and we'd like a bit of what they are having.

Yields on Irish bonds -- nine-year ones -- fell to 8.18 per cent last week. This is positive as it means investors don't see us as a complete basket case.

Latte sales

Takeaway coffee is a key indicator of discretionary spending, but only for small amounts.

If this falls then consumers are really tightening the purse strings.

Or else it's too hot to drink coffee or everything is under water.

Sales at Insomnia coffee shops were down 4.2 per cent compared to the same week last year.

Equally weighted basket of ISEQ shares

Stock markets sucked helium after Europe managed not to completely screw up a plan to bail out the banks.

A portfolio consisting of an equal amount of the top 20 shares that make up the ISEQ rose this week by 3.76 per cent.

Petrol and diesel

Consumer spending trends go almost exactly the opposite way to petrol and diesel prices. If petrol prices rise, consumer spending falls.

According to, the average price per litre of petrol is 149.9c and diesel is 143.9c. In both cases, the price of the fuel is lower than six months ago when the costs were 151.9c and 146.9c respectively.

Employment confidence

It appears that our confidence and patience is wearing thin. The number of enterprises opening in comparison to those closing is only at 3.59 this week and 11,890 Employment & Career related queries are down 26 per cent to the lowest level in six months.

Students studying in healthcare sector

There was a surge of interest in the healthcare industry on the part of students this year. A 30 per cent increase in applicants for pharmacy, 4.35 per cent in physiotherapy and 1.03 per cent in nursing illustrates the predictable movement away from the more cyclical industries to careers in the largest sector in the world. If Ireland's students of today are making this move, the workforce of tomorrow will be less exposed to booms and busts.

Sunday Indo Business

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