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SME funding options

Irish firms are slow to adopt newer financial products, such as crowd funding and peer-to-peer lending, according to new research to be presented today.

A conference being held by the ESRI and the Department of Finance will debate how government policies on access to finance for small businesses can continue to facilitate a smooth recovery in the SME sector.

Financing SMEs in Recovery will be opened by Junior Finance Minister Simon Harris, and will examine how Irish Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) currently fund themselves, and how policy can increase the diversity of financing used by firms.

Facebook deal backed

Facebook will win unconditional EU approval for its $19bn (€15bn) offer for mobile messaging start-up WhatsApp in a deal pitting it against telecoms operators, two people familiar with the matter said yesterday.

The landmark acquisition, the largest in Facebook's 10-year history, will give the company a firm foothold in the fast-growing mobile messaging market.

Rate-increase debate

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said the judgment on when to increase the benchmark rate from a record low has become "more balanced" in recent months.

Two policy makers pushed for a rate increase in August and September, as the deepening recovery fractured unanimity for keeping borrowing costs at 0.5 pc. While the UK is poised for the fastest growth in the G7, Carney is among the majority who say weak wages and anaemic growth in Europe support keeping rates where they've been since 2009.

Rosneft deal may fall

Rosneft, Russia's biggest crude oil producer, may back out of a deal to buy Morgan Stanley's oil trading unit because Western sanctions make it virtually impossible to finance day-to-day operations, sources have said.

They said the chances of the deal going through range from "possible" to "highly unlikely." A spokesman for Rosneft said that "the work over the deal is still ongoing".

Stress-test warning

The European Union's markets watchdog has warned banks they must investigate any rumours about how they have fared in the ECB's banking sector health check, sources have said.

Any leaks or market rumours have the potential to distort share prices of the 131 Eurozone banks undergoing the ECB assessment.

Irish Independent