Tuesday 27 September 2016

What it says in the papers: business pages

Published 05/02/2016 | 06:48

Here are the main business stories from this morning's papers:

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Irish Independent

* Fine Gael has abandoned plans to balance the country's books by 2018.

The party will use a deal struck with Brussels to justify pushing out the target date to bring spending in line with tax income by at least a year.

It means the party is planning to plug holes in its spending plans with extra borrowing - just a decade after the financial crash.

* Ireland's economy will continue to grow at the fastest rate in the EU this year, a performance that the bloc's economics chief has called "brilliant and balanced".

According to economic forecasts released yesterday by the European Commission, Ireland's economy will expand by 4.5pc this year, more than twice the EU average.

The strong performance is based on increased consumer spending and a boost in investment. Net exports - the difference between exports and imports - contracted last year and will remain close to zero next year, the EU predicts.

* Bank of Ireland will not be removing its restrictions on Iranian-related banking transactions despite the lifting of sanctions last month, the Irish Independent has learned.

While Irish companies are being encouraged to explore opportunities in the country, Ireland's two main banks appear wary. AIB declined to comment when asked its plans.

Iran emerged from years of economic isolation when world powers lifted sanctions against the Islamic Republic in return for Tehran complying with a deal to curb its nuclear ambitions.

The Irish Times

* Negotiations between Nama and Mayo County Council over the future of the iconic Westport House are still ongoing and are in an 'advanced' stage, according to tourism minister, Michael Ring.

The minister said that the State had a 'hold' on the house valued at €2m through the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht.

However, according to a report in the Irish Times this hold will lose its power in several years.

* Whelan's owner the Mercantile Group has announced a merger with fellow Dublin-based entertainment firm, the Capital Bars Group.

The enlarged firm will run 12 venues and employ in the region of 600 people.

As a combined entity the new group will have revenues of around €40m per year.

* Ireland's economy is still growing at the fastest rate in the European Union with the European Commission forecasting Irish GDP growth of 4.5pc.

Unemployment is expected to drop nearly a full percentage point, down from 9.4pc to 8.5pc.

The projected growth rate for Ireland puts us ahead of both Malta and Luxembourg in terms of GDP growth.

Irish Examiner

* Economic and financial affairs commissioner, Pierre Moscovici, has warned that Ireland must avoid any more 'bubbles' developing in its economy.

While Mr Moscovici said that Ireland's rate of growth was 'brilliant' he warned that the risks to European economic recovery are rising.

Growth within the Eurozone is to increase by 1.7pc this year from 1.6pc last year and is projected to grow to 1.9pc nextyear.

* Due to a large number of people on activation or training programmes at the end of last year, a rapid fall in the jobless rate may not be on the horizon.

A total of 82,309 people were on activation or training programmes last year and those figures do not count towards the Live Register and unemployment figures.

This means that a large influx of people will join the pool of jobless people who weren't counted before.

* The European Commission has said that the rate of house price growth in Ireland should be monitored carefully.

The Commission carried out an examination of house prices across the EU and despite rapid price increases it still believes houses in Ireland are undervalued.

Meanwhile it said that housing markets in the UK, Luxembourg, Sweden, and Belgium were overvalued.

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