Thursday 22 March 2018

Recovery index: Competitiveness

They may have Tin Tin -- but Belgium is now no match for the, er... thrusting vigour of the Irish business landscape. Over the last year, we've managed to pay ourselves way less, work much harder and help rich multinationals pay tiny amounts of tax.

Foreign companies now like us even more. Ireland's competitiveness has improved over the last year, according to the latest IMD rankings. We're up to 20th in the world from 24th. As well as Belgium, it's a giant 'in your face' to Austria, South Korea and New Zealand, which have fallen below us.

Irish government bonds

After the 'Grexit' crisis we now have the Spanish panic -- or 'Spanic' -- as the country that gave its name to explosive holiday diarrhoea looks to be heading for the U-bend. Rising fears over the future of the euro and potential bank wipe-out, have seen yields on Irish bonds rise sharply in recent weeks, hitting 7.5 per cent at one stage. Last week, despite the horrors, yields dipped 7.47 per cent. Despite this, the chances of Ireland returning to the bond markets to fund our spending needs are looking pretty unlikely -- which means bailout number two.

Used car sales

Sales of used cars on dropped by 4.8 per cent last week, with prices also dropping 3.2 per cent. This indicates wobbly consumer sentiment, which fed through into weak demand for second-hand motors.

Euro exchange rates

The words 'piss up' and 'brewery' spring to mind. How on earth did any of these people get elected in their own countries? And why on earth do the technocrats at the ECB and Commission still have jobs? Sack the lot of them and replace them all with croissants. At least they'd make a better stab of fixing the problems. In the meantime, the euro continues to tumble against the dollar. While in the bigger scheme of things, this weakness reflects rather badly on the currency, on a more local level it's jolly good news for our exporters.

Sunday Indo Business

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