Fashion accessory of the week
There will be a light service schedule on here for the next week, unless of course NAMA slips out news as it appeared to do over the Christmas holidays last year. There will be some end-of-year reviews and a look forward to the year ahead. There will be some hard news such as the release of the November 2012 house price index from the Central Statistics Office on Friday this week, and speaking of the CSO, the state statistics agency has produced a video showing CSO staff at work, compiling the quarterly national household survey. It’s all very informative but remains unclear why CSO staff need wear high visibility vests when sitting down at a table to discuss a household’s circumstances.
The Ballyhea/Charleville bank bailout protesters were on the streets of Ballyhea again last Sunday – “through road” might be a better description than “streets” of the thoroughfare through the tiny parish south of Charleville in county Cork. The Ballyhea community joined up with protesters from Charleville earlier this year and have together been marching each of 95 weeks since March 2011 to highlight the colossal sums being paid to bondholders in bust and bailed-out banks. A leading light amongst the protesters is Diarmuid O’Flynn who produced this poignant video about what they do and why they do it – the images have an accompaniment of a song “Dust in the Sky” which is an original work penned and sung by, relatives.
Honest broker of the Week
“Is it getting better, or do you feel the same?” as Bono might have sang on Grafton Street in Dublin yesterday. The IMF last week produced its latest staff report on Ireland and the state of our economy and its outlook, and it offers an objective overview on the first few pages of its report available here. There is good news and bad news, and the IMF is certainly supporting attempts to ease the burden of the bank rescue. There are some interesting tables and assessments here but one which received little attention is the interest rates charged to our small and medium businesses which is significantly out of kilter with our European partners and given the substantial state ownership of the banking system, this looks like an area which might benefit from closer scrutiny in the New Year.
Economic Brightspot of the Week
Economists like Seamus Coffey will say that Ireland doesn’t have an ideal measure of economic growth with both GDP and GNP having significant flaws in terms of teasing asunder fundamentally how well or badly we’re doing and where we’re going. Last Tuesday, the quarterly national accounts for the three months ending 30th September 2012 were issued and although GDP for Q3,2012 grew by just 0.2%, GDP growth for Q2 was revised up by 0.4%.
On here, the figures came as a pleasant surprise because they seem to support the latest forecasts from the Department of Finance which is producing the official forecasts for the country and as the figures show below, we are on target to meet the forecasts of nominal GDP and GNP as set out in the Department’s Medium Term Financial Statement in November 2012. The forecast 2012 GDP and GNP in nominal terms are €163,150m and €130,850m respectively, and the actual nominal GDP and GNP for the first three quarters of 2012 comes to €123,299m and €99,645m respectively meaning that to meet the Department of Finance’s 2012 forecast, we just need quarterly GDP and GNP of €39,851m and €31,205m in Q4,2012, which looks feasible compared to Q4,2011.
World Record bid of the Week
The Guinness Book of Records has a history of attracting the weird and wacky who try to get their feat or feature recognized by all. Take this chap here who says he holds the world record for kicking himself up his own arse with 36 kicks in 20 seconds.
In Ireland this week, we learned that a bid is underway to have the cost per capita of our bank collapse and bailout recognized throughout the world as the most expensive ever and the organizers at Anglo, Not Our Debt and the Debt Justice Action group hope that over the course of the next 4-6 weeks, we can get the people at Guinness World Records to recognize our very own record of kicking ourselves up our own arses. A Happy Christmas to you all!