Monday 23 April 2018

Welcome to the new recovery index

This week the Sunday Independent is launching 'The Recovery Index', a new economic indicator which will serve as a barometer showing how the economy is performing. Are things getting better, worse or just bouncing along the bottom? Created by Nick Webb and the 'Positive Economist' Susan Hayes, our new 'Recovery Index' aims to pick up emerging trends or subtle changes in sentiment as the country and the economy makes its way along the long, rocky road to eventual recovery.

The weekly index will merge unique, surprising and some downright quirky data, ranging from cinema box-office receipts and Google searches to monthly or quarterly stats on sales of Y-fronts or fancy loo paper, with some other more established indicators such as export numbers and inflation figures to provide the most up-to-date picture of how Ireland is feeling and crucially how that impacts on the economy.

Cinema box office

THE cinema industry is one we should hope suffers a torrid time. When the economy tanks, people spend more of their money going to the cinema. It's escapism and cheap entertainment -- as long as you don't buy popcorn. February receipts were a staggering 11.2 per cent ahead of the same month in 2010, according to Carlton Screen advertising. Last weekend's box-office total hit €647,000.

Up = bad news

CPL Resources & Grafton Group share prices

CPL Resources is a recruitment company and Grafton Group is a large DIY retailer with outlets all over Ireland and the UK. Both are listed on the stock exchange and their share prices offer an insight into the growth in these respective markets. Last week, CPL grew by 0.8 per cent and Grafton Group rose by 2.2 per cent.

Up = good news

10-year Irish bond yield

THE 10-year Irish government bond yield is the return an investor would make if they bought the bond today and held it until maturity. The higher the yield, the lower the price and the more investors doubt the ability of a government to repay its debts. This number rose from 9.78 per cent to 10.48 per cent last week.

Up = bad news

Ratio of new enterprises/ companies closing down

AN entrepreneur has to believe in its market before committing to opening a business within it. The more companies that are opening in comparison with those closing reflects business sentiment in Ireland today. According to the Vision-Net Business Barometer, for every one company that closed this week, six new enterprises were born.

Up = good news

Google searches for 'restaurants'

ON average, people spend more of their disposable income on eating out as their confidence in the economy rises. Irish Google searches for 'restaurants' in each of the big three cities indicate whether people are more willing to frequent our fine eateries. There were 11,720 searches last month; watch this space for developments!

Up = good news

ISEQ Overall Index Price

THE ISEQ Overall Index Price is a market capitalisation weighted list of all shares listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. If investors have a growing confidence in Ireland and the firms operating within it, the share prices of the constituent companies will rise, leading to an increase in the Overall Index. This number went from 2,900 to 2,956 this week, representing an upward movement of 1.9 per cent.

Up = good news

Online gift purchases

THEY say there's no recession on the internet. However, it does provide a real barometer of whether Irish consumers are spending. Ireland's biggest online pressie company saw sales jump 30 per cent on the same time last year, with sales ahead by 6 per cent on last week.

Up = good news


THE website of Failte Ireland is one of the main online portals for Irish people looking for staycations and weekends away... at home. This is a useful indicator of consumer spending and confidence but also a key measure of how tourism, one of the main planks for any recovery, is performing. Increased numbers of Irish people holidaying at home means more money sloshing around the domestic economy rather than been splurged on margaritas by the pool in Marbella. Last week saw the number of hits jump 4 per cent on the previous week.

Up = good news

Petrol prices

THE price of petrol and diesel makes an impact on everybody's pocket. If the price increases, one has to pay more to move around and transportation costs for businesses rise. Over the course of the last week, the average price of a litre of both petrol and diesel was flat at €1.5190 and €1.4690 respectively.

Up = bad news

Put/Call ratio on silver

THE Put/Call ratio on silver is an indication whether the market feels the price of silver will go up or down in the short term. If this number is increasing, there are more investors trading in puts and, therefore, hedging that silver will fall.

The shiny metal embodies people's fears about risky assets and so, a rise in the put/call ratio points toward a fall in fear. This number rose by 3.1 per cent this week.

Up = good news

What other statistics do you feel are worthy of inclusion in The Recovery Index? Tell us what you think at

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