The latest retail sales data from the CSO is very positive. But the Index is set to 2005 = 100 and the reality is current sales are back above their 2005 levels, but still 20% or more below peak 2008 levels:
What's going on? For starters, it seems that Irish households now have more money on deposit than they owe in loans (including mortgages) to Irish banks:
And not just households - for the first time ever, Irish businesses (non-financial corporations) also have more on deposit than owe Irish banks:
All of which implies that Ireland's hyper-cautious households and businesses will be a long time getting back to the levels of retail spending we saw just eight years ago.
And maybe they'll never get back...