International
Markets: Irish Pensions Board approves 39% cut in INM staff pension benefits
By Finfacts Team
Sep 11, 2013 - 10:21 AM

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Independent News & Media Plc announced today that following an application by the trustees of INM’s main Republic of Ireland defined benefit pension schemes to the Irish Pensions Board, to slash staff accrued retirement benefits by 39%, the Pensions Board issued an approval to take effect on 9 September 2013.

INM said based on the estimated deficit on the group’s defined benefit pension schemes at 30 June 2013, the now approved proposals would achieve a reduction in the pension deficit of approximately €110m from €199m.

The approval by the Irish Pensions Board  clears the way for the preferred option for the company, a capital raise of a net €40m to enable a further material debt reduction.

Net debt was at €434.6m at the end of June and this has now been cut to €290.6m following the disposal of INM’s South African business.

Economic View: Peripheral bond markets remain in favour; Dermot O'Leary, chief economist of Goodbody, comments - - "As expectations of a conflict in Syria reduced somewhat yesterday, markets used this as an excuse and moved up the risk curve. As a result, equity markets rallied while core bond yields rose. In the US, Treasury yields rose to close to 3% once again, before finishing the day at 2.93%. In Europe, 10-year bund yields rose over the 2% level, while UK yields topped 3%.

Among the peripheral economies in the euro area, Ireland has been the stand out performer over recent weeks. After rising to 4.12% at the end of August, the ten year yield has fallen sharply and has been able to remain below 4% for the past week. On a spread basis, Irish ten-year yields are now just 1.95% above the German equivalent. This matches the lowest spread since April 2010, just prior to the blowout at the time of the original Greek bailout.

Ireland is not the only country to be seeing this trend. Spanish 10-year spreads have fallen to below 2.5% relative to Germany for the first time since June 2011. Italian bonds have underperformed over recent weeks due to the on-going political uncertainty in that country. This issue has the potential to affect the peripheral bond market, but for the time being peripheral bond markets remain in favour."

US Markets

In New York Tuesday, the Dow rose 128 points or 0.85% to 15,191.

The S&P 500 added 0.73% and the Nasdaq advanced 0.62%.

Asia Markets

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose less than 0.1% Wednesday.

Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 0.01%; China's Shanghai Composite rose 0.15%; Korea's Kospi index gained 0.49%; Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.64% and in Mumbai, the Bombay Stock Exchange the S&P BSE India Sensex Index slid 0.83%.

Europe Markets

In Europe, the Dow Jones Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.19% in mid-morning trade Wednesday.

In Dublin, the ISEQ is down 0.16%.

CRH is off 0.54%.

European Benchmarks

Irish Share Prices

Key Index Performance Statistics

Euribor Rates

AIB Daily Report

Bank of Ireland Daily Report

Currencies

The euro is trading at $1.3271 and at £0.8407.

For live currency updates, check the right-hand column of the Finfacts home page.

The US dollar fell to $1.6038 per euro on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - an-all time record.

Commodities

The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of shipping costs for dry commodities, hit an all-time High of 11,771 on the 21st of May, 2008. From that time it reversed and on the 5th of December, 2008 it hit a low of 663 - - close to a 1986 low.

On Thursday, July 15, 2010, the index fell for the 35th straight session, by 9 points, or 0.537%, to 1,700 points, Bloomberg report.

On Tuesday, the BDI rose 63 points 4.26% to 1,541.

Global rebalancing — the tanker scrapyard index?

Crude oil for October 2013 delivery is currently trading on the Chicago York Mercantile Exchange (CME/Nymex) at $107.75 up 36 cents from Thursday's close. In London, Brent for October delivery is trading on the International Commodities Exchange at $112.16. The North Sea benchmark accounts for two-thirds of the global market.

Finfacts, July, 15, 2013:  US West Texas Intermediate oil benchmark jumps in July - - margin between WTI and Brent falls.

Gold spot price

The spot price of an oz of gold is trading on the CME in Chicago at $1,363.20 down 90 cents from Tuesday's closing.

Gold had hit a record high of $1,921.15 a troy ounce on Sept 06, 2011.

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