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Economic glass could be half full

The March retail sales figures, which were published yesterday, coming just days after the March house price index, provide genuine hope that after almost five years of unrelenting bad news on the economic front, things may at least have stopped getting worse.

According to the Central Statistics Office, the value of retail sales rose by 0.6pc last month, while the volume of retail sales was up 0.2pc.

When compared to March 2011, the value of retail sales was down just 0.4pc while the volume of sales was 1pc lower.

What these figures mean is that the precipitous decline in retail sales, which resulted in the value of retail sales collapsing by almost a quarter from their 2007 peak, has now come to an end.

The house price index, which showed house prices stabilising in March -- with prices actually rising in Dublin -- also points to some degree of economic stabilisation.

Things may still be pretty bad but at least we seem to be getting close to touching bottom.

For the first time in more than five years we can genuinely hope that the economic glass is now half full rather than half empty.