Sunday 4 December 2016

The B word will dominate as election looms

Published 12/10/2015 | 02:30

Alan McQuaid of Merrion Stockbrokers: 'Ireland's trade balance has fallen for the past four years, but this year it should increase for the first time since 2010'
Alan McQuaid of Merrion Stockbrokers: 'Ireland's trade balance has fallen for the past four years, but this year it should increase for the first time since 2010'

This week, it's all Budget, Budget, Budget. Michael Noonan, Brendan Howlin and senior officials will be putting the final touches to the final Budget before the general election.

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It's wall-to-wall predictions on what's going to be in it, so I won't dwell on it here.

Let's look at a few other events set to make headlines over the coming days.

Trade data is due out from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on Thursday, giving an update on the crucial export sector. In July, there was a seasonally adjusted surplus of €3.6bn, which was the second lowest so far in the year behind March.

Seasonally adjusted exports were down 6.4pc in the month at €8.76bn, while imports recorded a decrease of 2pc.

Last year saw very strong growth in exports, but analysts have pointed out that it will be difficult to increase and actually maintain market share in an ever-more competitive environment, even with the benefit of a sharply weaker euro.

"Irish exporters should continue to perform well on a relative basis," said Alan McQuaid, of Merrion Stockbrokers. "Ireland's trade balance has fallen for the past four years, but this year it should increase for the first time since 2010.

"Based on the official revised trade figures from the CSO, the surplus last year is now put at €31, 942m. The overall surplus in 2015 is in our view likely to be over €40,000m," Mr McQuaid said.

Other domestic data this week includes Government Finance Statistics, due out today. It will show the latest position in terms of the debt and deficit.

Data elsewhere this week is expected to show that sales at US retailers rose in September, while consumer prices fell as Americans paid less at the petrol pumps.

The figures, released two weeks before the Federal Reserve's October meeting, would leave inflation well below the central bankers' goal.

Industrial production in the world's biggest economy is also expected to fall in September for a second month as factories battled persistent headwinds including global economic malaise, limited domestic business investment and a stronger dollar.

US banks are also set to begin to post third-quarter earnings, with JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup among lenders reporting this week.

General Electric and Netflix are among companies also releasing earnings in the US.

The week ahead

MONDAY

Government finances statistics for Q2 from CSO

Trade statistics July

TUESDAY

Budget 2016

WEDNESDAY

European Central Bank member Yves Mersch to give a speech on “market infrastructure integration.”

THURSDAY

Goods exports and imports August

FRIDAY

Dublin Economics Workshop begins

Irish Independent

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