Tumbleweed is rolling through the aisles of some toy shops and departments. Things are fierce quiet. It's not much different on the internet where the number of toys sold on eBay.ie is down a stonking 44 per cent since last year. The value of sales is down 4.3 per cent. Collectable toys and Warhammer and other role-playing figures are the big sellers.
Brrrr. Brass monkeys out there. Sales of hot drinks such as cappuccinos and lattes rose 2 per cent last week in Insomnia compared with the same week last year. Mind you, we were all holed up at home, shotguns at the ready, this time last year as the IMF rolled into town. Any increase in consumer spending -- even on something as small as a flat white -- is positive.
The lights are flashing red again. The number of insolvencies hit its highest level for the whole year in November, according to latest number crunching from insolvencyjournal.ie. There was a 90 per cent hike in receivership appointments compared with October. Retail and hospitality sector insolvencies are each up 47 per cent and 53 per cent respectively since October. The number of companies going wallop is up 7 per cent this year compared with last year. Business failure equals shrinking tax receipts, more unemployment, less trade and less spending. Grim.
The number of women on the Live Register increased by 2,500 in all regions last month with the largest increase -- 7.9 per cent -- recorded in the South East. Clearly, this deterioration pushes more people out of the taxation and into the social welfare net, which brings us further from recovery.
Irish bond yields
Irish bond yields fell slightly last week but they are still way up from the levels seen when we almost believed austerity was going to work. You can't fool us any more. Anyone got a plan B to replace a decade of tax hikes and spending cuts?
Sofas, cars and lightbulbs were among the things that sold well in October as retail sales rose by 0.1 per cent compared with the month before. Pubs, books and cosmetics had a pretty sucky month. So far this year, retail sales are down a stonking 3.8 per cent, so the October figures were something of a pleasant surprise. So, what do you do if there's the slightest sign of consumers spending? Kill it stone dead by taxing the life out of it and jacking up VAT. Department of Finance 1, everyone else 0.
Equally weighted basket of ISEQ shares
When some of the biggest Central Banks clubbed together to provide more dollars from cash-strapped European banks, markets pogo-ed upwards. Our ISEQ index of equally weighted shares shot up. This means that investors figure Irish shares are a better bet. At least for the next day or so, until they change their minds for the 443rd time in the last two years.
Sunday Indo Business