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Rugby shirts

Sporting success can have an effect on a country's economy. It has been estimated -- on a beer mat -- that the difference between failing to qualify for a World Cup and actually winning it is close to 0.3 per cent of GDP. That'd be close to €500m in Ireland's case. The Rugby World Cup will probably have a little less lead in its pencil, but any success would be a boost for confidence, which might translate to extra spending . . . on pints anyway. Sales of rugby shirts on eBay.ie are up 14.2 per cent this year compared to the same period last year.

Competitiveness rankings

A big, fat 122-page report from the Competitiveness Council suggests that we're upping our game a bit. Except for lawyers, who are still sharking too much. But the world rankings show the Swiss remaining the most competitive nation in the world, with Ireland lodged at 29th spot -- the same as last year. We're better than Iceland by one place but are worse than Brunei. A marginal thumbs-up on this one.

Coffee sales

The so-called 'latte effect', where customers stop splashing out on small, discretionary spending such as frothy coffees, really hasn't materialised -- at least not at Insomnia, where sales are up a hefty 2.5 per cent on the same week last year.

Aer Lingus traffic stats

The number of passengers carried by Aer Lingus in August was up 1.8 per cent on August 2010 . . . which is positive, unless they were all one-way tickets. While Hurricane Irene hit US flight numbers, short-haul stuff was decent enough, rising 2.4 per cent in a year. Passenger numbers on domestic flights were up 46.4 per cent on August last year after rejigging of the sector. With the Government's 25 per cent stake in the airline up for grabs, any improvement is good news for the taxpayer.

10-year Irish bond yield

The Irish Government bond yield rose slightly this week to 8.7 per cent -- the first increase since mid-July. Credit default swaps rise to their highest levels this month, touching 832 points, as the eurocrats continue to make a complete dog's dinner out of solving the crisis.

Equally weighted Iseq shares

The equally weighted basket of Iseq shares fell 1.32 per cent as investors got the heebie jeebies in a highly caffeinated market.

Ratio of new enterprises/ companies closing down

Entrepreneurs returned to the business of starting up new companies with gusto, as the ratio of new companies opening compared with those closing rose to 1.82.

11890 queries

Sticking up a new shelf may involve a considerable amount of elbow grease and choice language . . . but it also pumps money into the retail economy. Directory-enquiry calls for hardware, DIY, joiners, builders providers and garden centres rose 11 per cent last week.

Sunday Indo Business