Irish house prices don't seem to know what they are doing. On one hand, prices of redbricks on Dublin's southside are going gangbusters – but sales of homes outside the burbs are still grim. Looks like there's a two-speed market at work. Cardboard boxes are an interesting indicator of the future direction of the property market. A surge in demand for boxes may hint at a rise in people packing up stuff in preparation for moving house. Latest figures from eBay.ie show a 6 per cent rise in sales of cardboard boxes this year.
Yowser! Irish bond yields are doing all the wrong things. The higher the yield or interest paid on our debt, the less investors fancy our chances of repaying money. Irish bond yields have risen to 4.05 per cent, with a steady increase over the last three weeks. Breaching the 4 per cent mark was a really bad development. However the yield curve has risen all across the eurozone. This increase points to higher long-term interest rates which, if maintained, the taxpayer will have to pay when we next borrow on the markets.
Consumer prices dipped 0.1 per cent in May, reversing recent rises. This means that prices are up a total of 0.4 per cent over the last year. While teenchy price rises mean that there's less pressure on household budgets, the minuscule levels of inflation indicate a really moribund economy. But a 2.1 per cent drop in the price of beer can't be all that bad.
MONTHLY SERVICES INDEX
The latest reading of the Monthly Services Index at 109 in April 2013 marks the continued growth of current price output in the non-financial traded services sector, notching a 4.1 per cent annual expansion. This statistic indicates that the comprising companies have been able to pass on some badly needed price increases. As a result, assuming fixed input prices, these organisations could be rebuilding profit margins, paying higher amounts of tax, increasing job stability and increasing their contribution to overall economic activity.
LEAVING CERT NUMBERS
There has been a tiny fall in the number of people sitting their Leaving Cert this year, with a 0.07 per cent decline to 53,749 students. However, the trend is pretty negative as the class of 2013 is significantly smaller than the numbers sitting the exams in 2009. This is rather grim and serves as a poor indicator for our future prosperity. Notwithstanding emigration, an educated, work-ready, quality labour force is the underpinning of our future – economic and otherwise.