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Markets News Afternoon: Lenihan proposes to amend Finance Bill; Social charge for self-employed' earnings over €100,000 to rise to 10%
By Finfacts Team
Jan 25, 2011 - 4:53 PM

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Finance Minister Brian Lenihan debating the Finance Bill 2011 in the Dáil this afternoon

Finance Bill: Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan told the  Dáil today that the Government is planning to bring amendments to the Finance Bill relating to the universal social charge.

The proposal is to introduce a lower rate of 4% for those holding a medical card, from the rate of  7% in the Bill.

However, self-employed people earning more than €100,000 will pay an extra 3% surcharge on any incomes above that amount. The Minister said this would mean such people would be back at the levels they were before the Budget.

The charge, introduced in the Budget, amalgamated the health and income levies. It had three rates - 2%, 4% and 7%.

Lenihan said the change would apply for the lifetime of the four-year plan.

The cost of adjusting the rate for medical card holders would be €80m, according to the Minister and is to be offset by the surcharge on the self-employed who will now pay 10%.

Meanwhile, Minister Lenihan, announced that the 90% banks' bonus surcharge "may be difficult to do," by Friday, when the Finance Bill is expected to be ratified by the Dáil.

The tax was announced by Lenihan in December after it emerged that the bailedout Allied Irish Banks was due to pay €40m in bonuses to executives.

The Small Firms Association has slammed the social charge changes announced today.

“The raising of the Universal Social Change for the self employed owner manager is not encouraging for small business development at a time when job creation and retention should be our primary objective!”

“The question has to be asked of Government who will be creating the jobs in the future? The small business sector have shown that they can grow and create employment when the correct environment is provided. Small firms will create employment, but can only do so if they receive the correct support - today’s decision is not giving that support and shows that Government do not recognise the importance of the small business sector to the Irish economy,”
said the director, Avine McNally.

George Buckley, chief UK economist at Deutsche Bank told CNBC even without the weather problems the figure would have been on the downside. "Whatever has caused this, recoveries are never smooth," he said:

AIB Delisting:Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. said today that it will cease trading on the Main Securities Market (MSM) of the Irish Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange and will instead be listed on the Enterprise Securities Market (ESM) of the Irish Stock Exchange prior to market opening on 26th January 2011. 

AIB said the proposed move to the ESM should not impact shareholders’ ability to buy or sell shares.  Shares trading on the ESM can be bought or sold through the normal channels, including a wide range of brokers and there will be no delay in terms of trading days between delisting from the MSM and relisting on the ESM.

Insight on the markets, the economy and the Fed, with Danny Blanchflower, an economics professor at Dartmouth, and the CNBC news team:

EU Bond Issue: The first bond issued by the Eurozone bailout fund has attracted offers worth €43bn - -  almost 10 times what is required to fund Ireland this month.

The bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), which was established last May in the aftermath of the Greek rescue, was seeking to raise in the range of €3 to €5bn.

The  €750bn support mechanism comprises €440bn from the Eurozone; €60bn from the European Commission and the remainder from the IMF.

Meanwhile, Spain achieved lower interest rates today when it sold €2.245bn in short-term debt.

The Treasury issued the debt a day after Madrid outlined plans to provide up to €20bn to bolster regional banks known as 'cajas', which have been severely hit by the property crash.

Demand was strong with almost €12bn offered, enabling Spain to meet its target of raising €2-3bn.

The Treasury sold €945m in 3-month bills at an average yield of 0.980%, down from 1.804% at a similar auction on December 21st and slightly lower than yesterday's market closing rate of 1.05%.

Spain also sold €1.3bn in 6-month bills at an average yield of 1.817%, down from 2.597% in December but up from 1.425% at Monday's market close.

Dermot O'Leary, chief economist at Goodbody Stockbrokers on Monday, as the political fallout from the country’s financial meltdown continues. Early elections are looming after the Green Party pulled out of the government led by Prime Minister Brian Cowen:

US Markets

In New York Tuesday, the Dow fell 31 points or 0.36% to 11,948.

The S&P 500 has slid 0.17% and the Nasdaq has slipped 0.19%.

Since May 2010, the housing market has experienced an unambiguous deceleration in home price returns:

US home prices keep weakening as 8 cities reach new lows according to S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices

US consumer confidence increased in January:

US Consumer Confidence Index increased in January

European Markets

The pan-European Dow Jones Stoxx 600 has dipped 0.42% Tuesday.

In Dublin the ISEQ rose 1.00%.

CRH which accounts for about 27% of the Dublin market's capitalisation, is up 3.44%; Elan has climbed 6.96%; BoI is down 3.69% and Aer Lingus dipped 2.39%.

European benchmarks

Irish share prices

Euribor Interest Rates

Commodities

Crude oil for March delivery is currently trading on the Chicago York Mercantile Exchange (CME/Nymex) at $86.60 per barrel down $1.27 from Monday's close. In London, Brent for March is trading on the International Commodities Exchange at $95.41.

Currencies

The euro is trading at $1.3656 and at £0.8639.


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