BoI plans to close branches in North
BANK of Ireland is to close nine branches in Northern Ireland in a move that will reduce its network of outlets to 35. The bank, which has insisted it has no plans for branch closures in the Republic, said it was investing £10m (€11.9m) in its Northern Irish branch network.
The branches scheduled for closure are: Ballyclare; Ballymoney; Carrickfergus; Kilkeel; Kilrea; Larne; and Rathfriland.
Spanish economy is still contracting
THE recession in Spain deepened in the last three months of 2012, when the economy shrank by 0.6pc compared with the previous three-month period.
In preliminary estimates to be confirmed next week, the Bank of Spain said it was the sixth quarter in a row that the economy contracted. It shrank by 0.4pc in the third quarter.
Price of oil falls over US concerns
THE price of oil fell yesterday after monthly home sales and manufacturing data raised concerns about the US economy's growth prospects.
Benchmark oil for March delivery was down 13 cents to $96.55 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The February contract, which expired yesterday, rose 68 cents to close at $96.24, a four-month high.
Portugal back on the bond market
PORTUGAL'S first bond sale since its 2011 rescue drew strong demand yesterday, bolstering hopes the country can make a full market return that should allow it to call on further European Central Bank support.
Lisbon was initially expected to sell around €2bn of the five-year paper, a re-opening of its 4.35pc October 2017 bond, first launched in 2007 as a 10-year benchmark. But sources close to the deal said the placement was likely to be around €2.5bn.
Unemployment falls in the UK
BRITAIN'S unemployment rate has fallen to 7.7pc, official statistics showed yesterday. This will ease pressure on the Bank of England to inject more money into the economy.
The unemployment rate for the three months from September to November was down from 7.8pc in the previous three months, the Office for National Statistics said.