Europe warned of gas shortage without more Russian imports

Europe will face a gas shortage and price spike as soon as the next decade if it doesn’t decide quickly to boost imports from Russia as gas purchases from the US or Qatar fail to match  Read more

Ireland listed amongst top EU countries for big data investment

The vast majority of global corporates have identified Ireland as a possible or likely location for data-driven investment in the next year, new research has found. Read more

Ireland listed amongst top EU countries for big data investment

The vast majority of global corporates have identified Ireland as a possible or likely location for data-driven investment in the next year, new research has found. Read more

Revealed: Black market trading cost economy €2.5bn last year

Black market trading is estimated to have cost the economy close to €2.5bn last year.

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Ryanair reaffirms profit forecast, announces €800m share buyback

Ryanair on Monday reaffirmed its full-year profit forecast after higher passenger numbers offset lower fares and said it would return €800m to shareholders through a share buyback.

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The Irish unemployment rate was unchanged in June from the previous month, as evidence from a new survey also suggested that the rapid rise in the number of jobs is slowing.

CSO figures showed that seasonally adjusted numbers on the live register fell by only 500 in the month, much slower than the declines of 1,000 and 1,200 posted in May and April.

As a result, the unemployment rate was unchanged from May, at 9.7%, but sharply lower than the rate of 11.4% in June 2014.

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Revenue at the world’s 10 largest investment banks rose 9%, year-on-year, to $44.9 billion in the first quarter, as financial market volatility and central bank stimulus measures boosted profits.
Trading in fixed income, currencies and commodities (FICC) divisions, which are particularly exposed to economic conditions, were the outperformers, up 5% on a constant dollar basis, data from industry analytics firm Coalition shows.

Revenues from FICC have slumped in recent years on the back of tougher regulations and low market volatility, that has prompted investment banks to reshape themselves, shedding staff and exiting certain business lines.

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Consumer price figures ‘mask’ real increases

A raft of everyday household expenses, including private landlord rents, public transport, and college registration fees, are soaring above the price levels reached during the boom years, official figures show.

Analysts say that a detailed breakdown of consumer price figures show that the trend in the past year of price decreases for some goods is masking huge price rises of everyday items across the economy. As a result, many prices are now well above levels recorded in 2006.

Headline CSO figures on consumer prices were published yesterday and showed the annual price index tumbled by 0.7% in April, as the costs of buying airline tickets, cars, meat and vegetables, clothing, and furniture all fell.

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Irish company failures decline 17% year-on-year in first quarter

The first three months of 2015 have seen a 17% year-on-year decrease in company failures.

However, statistics from Deloitte also show the 250 cases of corporate insolvency for the first quarter are up 13% on the final quarter of 2014. Despite the introduction of legislation making it more cost-effective for smaller firms to go down the examinership route if in need of court protection to safeguard their business, receiverships accounted for 22% of all insolvencies since the start of January, unchanged on the same period last year.

“An ongoing trend that we are observing in our analysis over the last number of quarters is that examinerships continue to remain at disappointingly low levels,” saod David Van Dessel of Deloitte’s restructuring services division.

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All eyes on Draghi as world awaits answer to low inflation issue

AS Mario Draghi secludes himself with Europe’s top minds in central banking this week, he won’t be able to escape one question: What’s next?

After all but promising that he’ll ease monetary policy in June, the European Central Bank (ECB) president must now manage market expectations as banks from Goldman Sachs to Societe Generale speculate whether he’ll go further and deploy large-scale asset purchases in the coming months.

Mr Draghi yesterday opened the first ECB Forum, a gathering of policy makers and academics to be held annually northwest of Lisbon.

What Mr Draghi says this week could provide clues on how he plans to overcome the low inflation that’s threatening the euro area’s return to economic health.

Officials have said they’re working on a package of possible measures for the June 5 policy meeting, including interest-rate cuts and liquidity injections, while holding out the prospect of quantitative easing as a more powerful option.

“An important part of the package will be the accompanying words,” said Francesco Papadia, a former director general of market operations at the ECB and now chairman of Prime Collateralised Securities in Frankfurt.

“If he says that the council has given a first installment of measures and will be ready to do more if needed, especially when it comes to bringing inflationary expectations more quickly toward 2pc, this could give more weight to the easing package.”

Mr Draghi will give a keynote address this morning at the event in Sintra, Portugal.

Big-name thinkers on monetary policy such as Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman and Princeton University’s Markus Brunnermeier will address the getaway.

They’ll be joined by policy makers from International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde to Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem. ECB Executive Board members Vitor Constancio, Peter Praet and Benoit Coeure will chair discussions.

The ECB may use the occasion to elaborate on what Mr Draghi meant when he told reporters on May 8, after leaving rates on hold, that the Governing Council is “dissatisfied” with the outlook for consumer prices and “comfortable” with action in June.

Inflation has been below 1pc since October, less than half the ECB’s goal.