Profits at the ECB double to €2.2bn
PROFITS at the European Central Bank (ECB) almost doubled last year to more than €2.2bn, accounts approved by the ECB's Governing Council show.
The profits will be distributed among the 16 member central banks according to their size, with €36m going to the Irish Exchequer via the Central Bank of Ireland.
Aviva to snap up rivals in Russia
Aviva Plc, the UK's second-biggest insurer, is seeking to buy Russian competitors at less than a quarter of their price before the global credit crisis, said Andrei Dubinin, chief executive officer of Aviva Russia. Local insurers can be bought for the equivalent of their annual revenue from premiums or less, compared with four times before the crisis hit Russia in September 2008, Dubinin said at the company's Moscow office.
Northern recovery will be 'lacklustre'
NORTHERN Ireland's economy will grow 1.3pc this year in what will be a "lacklustre" recovery, said the Northern Bank. The bank's chief economist, Angela McGowan, said the region's economy shrank about 4.5pc last year. While the economy stopped shrinking in the third quarter, unemployment is continuing to increase. "The local economy should not slip back into recession in 2010 if policy makers manage the fine line between financial austerity and sustaining economic growth," Ms McGowan said. Manufacturing output will grow by 0.9pc in the first quarter of the year, while the services sector will experience "sluggish" growth in the first half of the year, the report said.
Jobless rate in US remains at 9.7pc
THE US unemployment rate held at 9.7pc and employment fell less than forecast, even as east coast snowstorms forced some employers to temporarily close. Payrolls dropped by 36,000 last month after a revised 26,000 decrease in January, a US Labour Department report showed yesterday. Manufacturing employment grew for a second straight month, the first consecutive gains since 2006. Stocks and the dollar rallied as investors reckoned the economy would have added jobs were it not for record snowfalls in cities such as Baltimore and Philadelphia.
The euro was trading just under $1.36 last night. "We do have an economic recovery, it's certainly uneven, but it's there," said John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina.