Monday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - September 15, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Sep 15, 2014 - 2:28 PM

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Irish Independent

Further hints as to when the first US interest rate hike in more than eight years will happen could come on Wednesday after governors of the country's central bank's meet.

As the US economy picks up pace its Federal Reserve is inching closer to raising interest rates, a move that will send ripples across the globe.

The US is shaking off the hangover from the financial crisis that hammered Europe and even knocked mighty China off its stride.

Ireland would welcome the move, experts said.

"This will help to weaken the euro and a weaker euro will help countries like Ireland, Portugal and Spain to sell more to the rest of the world," said Philip Lane, an economist at Trinity College Dublin.

Choosing when to increase the cost of borrowing in the world's biggest economy - a move expected next year - is a delicate balancing act.

It's back to the future. One party in government promises tax cuts, while the other talks of increasing public spending. But the only way to settle these conflicting statements is to once again rely on a rise in construction activity to pay for it all. The latest Exchequer returns provide all the encouragement they need.

Revenues from Stamp Duty are up 35pc, and income tax and VAT receipts are again rising on the back of returning building workers and a 40pc growth in house sales this year. The powerful construction industry can already be heard whispering sweet nothings into the ear of those in cabinet. "Need a faster economic recovery? Housing crisis killing your re-election prospects? Don't worry, let Budget 2015 take the shackles off our feet and we'll rip-roar into life again, building new homes, creating new jobs and bringing those Budget numbers into line."

Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter opens to Irish projects today.

It is the latest - and largest - of a series of new entrants to the Irish fundraising market, which have dramatically changed small businesses' access to finance.

Crowdfunding has taken off around the world, drastically altering how capital gets deployed as projects, companies and individuals flock to the web for fundraising instead of tapping banks and big financial firms.

The biggest crowdfunding medium in the world, Kickstarter is targeted at creative projects - anything from product design to fashion to music. It allows groups and individuals to pitch their ideas and raise finance from a community of millions of people, in exchange for rewards like copies of the finished product.

Irish Times

The prospect that Irish banks could offload some of their problematic mortgage debts as part of the European Central Bank’s asset-backed security-purchase programme receded this weekend as ECB vice- president Vitor Constancio said the bank would need state guarantees in order to buy lower-ranking debt.

At the end of two days of finance ministers meeting, the ECB’s second-in-command said the bank would need some kind of guarantee if it was to buy the riskier debt held by European banks.

“We will buy the senior tranches of ABS [asset-backed securities]. If we would have to broaden the programme to include the so-called mezzanine tranches, where there is more risk, for that we would indeed some kind of guarantee,” Mr Constancio told reporters in Milan.

He pointed out that, in the US, 82 per cent of the mortgages are securitised via Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac, which are public entities. His comments echo similar comments by Mario Draghi following Friday’s euro group meeting.

Something interesting has happened out west. For the best part of two years Bord Iascaigh Mhara has been trying to reboot the Irish salmon farming industry. The plan centres around very large farms, with one planned for Galway Bay and another earmarked for Inishturk off Co Mayo.

The projects have met opposition from various interest groups who have joined forces in Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages. They claim to have the support of a majority of the members of the newly elected Galway County Council and Irish members of the European Parliament.

They have argued the salmon farms present significant environmental risks. These include damage to wild salmon stocks and the substantial tourism industry built around salmon angling. The arguments are many, complex and inconclusive, with all sides able to produce “evidence” to support their assessment.

Each morning when I wake I thank God for another new day giving me the opportunity to accompany those I meet. For the main part they are people who attend the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin, many bearing great burdens and with little to brighten their lives.

These are the most important people in my life. At the centre we try to meet their needs in any way we can. Everyone is welcome. We have an open-door policy and respect each person’s dignity by not asking any questions.

I am almost 80 and I sometimes wonder how my life would have been if I had not responded to a little advertisement in the Southern Star inviting people to follow in the footsteps of St Francis of Assisi. Having been born and reared in Enniskeane in west Cork and having then gone on to work in CIÉ, I did not know much about the Capuchins but was very impressed by the teachings of St Francis, who became my role model. Like all Capuchins I try to live by his guidelines of peace, love and care for the poor and all creation.

Irish Examiner

More than 12,000 companies have been established in Ireland so far this year, marking the return, for the first time, to pre-recession start-up levels.

The pace at which start-ups are setting up has quickened substantially this year to the point whereby an average of 48 are established every day.

However, the positive news on the number of start-ups is counter-balanced by the 259 companies that closed this week — an average of 37 per day.

So far this year, the number of companies being set up has risen 12%, according to the Business Barometer report compiled by risk analyst firm Vision-net.


Euro Topics:  Sweden's left wins but has little to celebrate: Fredrik Reinfeldt's liberal-conservative government suffered a defeat in Sunday's elections. The leader of the Social Democrats Stefan Löfven will in all probability become the new prime minister. But the new governing party has little cause for celebration, the left-wing daily ETC concludes and points to the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats' almost 13 percent chunk of the vote: "For sure, the Reinfeldt era is over. And even if the Sweden Democrats won't be able to determine the political course they are big enough to prevent a change of system. We are facing four weak years and four years in which politics won't be able to protect those groups that really need support. Naturally we can celebrate Reinfeldt's departure. But the major task for the red-green government is to think about why they didn't get the support of the citizens."

Fear drives voters to Alternative for Germany: The Eurosceptic party Alternative for Germany (AfD) topped the ten percent mark in Sunday's elections to regional parliaments in the German states of Brandenburg and Thuringia off the cuff. Fear and anger on the part of voters was decisive for this success, the conservative German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung comments: "The fact that a party that's often criticised as a loose clique of professors and intellectuals has been able to strike a chord with a certain group of voters may go down in history as a special kind of paradox. ... Their protests feed on concrete threatening scenarios, be they refugee boats on the Mediterranean, bureaucrats in Brussels, criminals on Germany's eastern borders, ailing banks, bailout packages or current support for equal rights for homosexuals. Right from the party's earliest days anyone expecting the matter-of-fact atmosphere of an economics tutorial was in for a surprise: anger was in the air."

Finland must finally build new nuclear plant: The Finnish government will decide at the end of September whether to give the green light for the Fennovoima nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki. The Russian energy company Rosatom has a more than 30 percent share in its construction, but it is unclear whether Finnish ownership will account for the required majority. The liberal daily Kaleva warns against jeopardising the project: "It's entirely possible that our politicians will have to get down on their knees and beg Rosatom for additional investment, instead of thinking about how many tenths of a percentage points the Finns need to maintain a majority share. ... And we need this plant. Even if people never stop evoking the decline of Finnish industry, our energy balance is severely in the red. Apart from nuclear power, other sources like wind, water and heat energy are needed. ... And there's more need than ever for the nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki."

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