Wednesday 21 March 2018

What it says in the papers: business pages

Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

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

Irish Independent

* Business owners and managers are being warned to brace for further volatility in the pound, starting with a raft of economic data due this week.

Reports on activity levels in the UK services sector as well as industrial and manufacturing production will give traders further insight into the extent to which the UK economy is faltering ahead of June's vote on European Union membership.

"Sterling is certainly going to be volatile," said Thu Lan Nguyen of Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

* Judges are being pressed to tackle the problem of hugely inflated insurance premiums by sticking to new guidelines on compensation claims.

Large awards leading to the growth of a 'compo culture' are just one of the factors being blamed for a 30pc hike in motor insurance premiums over the past year.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton has held a meeting with the President of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, in a bid to get judicial support for guidelines due to be published this summer.

* Greece has demanded an explanation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after an apparent leaked transcript suggested the fund may threaten to pull out of the country's bailout in order to force European lenders to offer more debt relief.

EU/IMF lenders are due to hold talks on Greece's bailout in Athens today, aiming to conclude a bailout review that will unlock further loans and pave the way for negotiations on long-desired debt restructuring.

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras' office said yesterday that he had asked IMF managing director Christine Lagarde to clarify the fund's stance, after internet whistleblowing site WikiLeaks published what it said was the transcript of a March 19 conference call of three senior IMF officials.

The Irish Times

* Offshore holdings of current and former world leaders, as well as celebrities and sports stars have been revealed in a huge leak of an international law firm's files.

Some 11.5 million records were released showing how law firms and big banks offer financial secrecy to politicians, drug traffickers and politicians.

Amongst the revelations are associates of Russian president Vladimir Putin, as well as revelations including Fifa officials and the Icelandic prime minister.

* The economic recovery could be at risk by the political parties inability to form a new government, according to Goodbody Stockbrokers.

The warning follows reports from business group Isme, which says the delay in establishing a government is having a bad effect on business confidence.

In a new report by Goodbody, the lack of policymaking, matched with record lows of public investment could threaten the recovery of the Irish economy.

* Zeto, the Cork-based tech start-up, has secured a €1.7m investment as well as agreeing a new commercial contract with the Irish arm of German supermarket chain Lidl.

The firm uses wireless sensors to ensure refrigeration units are running and maintained to the highest standards.

The software has now been installed across Lidl's 182 Irish stores.

Irish Examiner

* Confidence amongst Irish SMEs dropped in the first three months of the year due to economic factors both at home and abroad.

According to the latest business tends survey from Isme, all positive confidence growth in Q4 2015 has been wiped out by the opening quarter of 2016.

Nine out of the 12 sentiment indicators amongst small and medium businesses in Ireland fell in the opening quarter according to the new report.

* Greece is now calling for the International Monetary Fund to explain how a transcript, suggesting that the IMF may pull of the country's bailout was leaked.

Talks on Greece's fiscal and reform progress will continue today with the aim of concluding a bailout review.

The review has already been adjourned twice before over the estimated size over Greece's fiscal gap by two years time.

* Goodbody Stockbrokers is warning about the current impasse between political parties and the risk that it poses to the Irish recovery.

Company chief executive Dermot O'Leary said Ireland's recovery could be jeopardised by the election that has circulated the Government following the general election.

In spite of the fact the Irish economy is self-sustaining, Mr O'Leary said a governing body is needed to manage Ireland's limited fiscal space.

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