All eyes on our near neighbour as the UK heads for cliffhanger
Published 04/05/2015 | 02:30
It's a shorter than usual week this week, thanks to the bank holiday today. But one event is sure to be of interest to the business world, and that's the general election in the UK on Thursday.
Polls have prime minister David Cameron's Conservatives roughly level with the Labour Party led by Ed Miliband, suggesting a coalition government is the most likely outcome.
Mr Cameron's Liberal Democrat coalition partners have seen a collapse in support amid a surge in backing for the Scottish National Party, a challenge by the anti-European Union UK Independence Party, and the rise of the Greens.
The economy is one of the most important issues in the election.
Data released on Friday showed that British manufacturing growth slowed sharply in April, underlining the uneven nature of the economic recovery.
Coming after a surprising slowdown in growth in the first quarter, the survey will have made for gloomy reading for Mr Cameron and chancellor George Osborne, who promised a manufacturing revival shortly after coming to power in 2010.
And one of the big questions is if the Conservatives get back into power, could we end up potentially seeing a British exit from the EU? That uncertainty could result in market jitters.
And yet, the leaders of 5,000 small companies have signed a letter endorsing the Conservative Party, saying they would like Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne to have the chance to finish what they have started, the 'Daily Telegraph' reported last month.
The letter, signed by firms from every region of the United Kingdom, says the Conservatives' commitment to low taxes has helped "to get the economy moving again," creating 1,000 jobs a day since 2010, the newspaper reported.
Elsewhere, the European Commission tomorrow publishes its spring European Economic Forecast, which will include projections for growth, inflation, unemployment and budget deficits.
French finance minister Michel Sapin travels to Brussels on Thursday to discuss France's plans to cut its deficit and reform its economy.
France has said it will target smaller reductions in its structural budget deficit in 2016 and 2017 than called for by the European Commission in order to preserve economic growth.
And then there's Greece. The country is scheduled to make an interest payment to the International Monetary Fund of about €201m on Wednesday.
Negotiators from Athens and Brussels are likely to continue talks as they seek to break an impasse over bailout aid amid conflicting signals from the country's government over its willingness to agree on long-stalled reforms.
Here at home, it's a relatively quiet week on the business front as well. A number of companies will publish interim management statements, including CRH and Kingspan.
The Central Statistics Office, meanwhile, will publish the monthly services index tomorrow, and industrial production on Wednesday.