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Friday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - September 19, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Sep 19, 2014 - 11:45 AM

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New York Times first issue: Sept 18, 1851

Irish Independent

FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan has estimated the economy will grow 4.5pc this year.

It comes as the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said the economy grew by 1.5pc between April and June.

And when you compare the April and June period of this year, the second quarter, with the same period in 2013, the economy expanded 7.7pc.

“My people advising me tell me that it’s a trend that will continue. We’ll be marking up the growth figures for 2014 and 2015,” Mr Noonan said.

“It’ll settle around 4.5pc in GDP for 2014. We haven’t run the numbers yet, but it will be somewhere around there. Bit less for next year.”

Mr Noonan had recently said that the economy this year was set to grow by 3pc.

Fruit firm Fyffes has engaged in a "desperate attempt" to salvage its $1bn (€774m) merger with US-based Chiquita, a Brazilian rival has claimed as it ratchets up efforts to unravel the deal.

Cutrale-Safra insisted that an investor presentation filed by Fyffes in New York on Wednesday has queried what it alleges are "misleading" figures to support the reasoning for its merger with Chiquita.

"The transactional alchemy underpinning it is just an attempt to convince Chiquita shareholders to believe in the unfounded merits of a Fyffes combination," claimed Cutrale-Safra.

It added: "It is no wonder that Fyffes is desperate to salvage this transaction, given the transaction provides Fyffes with management control of the proposed combined ChiquitaFyffes.

The European Central Bank handed out the first of its new four-year loans to banks today, the flagship tool in a new stimulus package it hopes will stave off price deflation and revive the ailing euro zone economy.

Take-up of the €400bn offer of cheap credit from the euro zone's central bank was low but banks will get a second chance in December to apply for the cash, which is granted on condition that they lend to businesses.

The launch of the scheme, a central plank of the ECB's efforts to coax reluctant banks to lend more and fire up the bloc's flagging economy, saw the ECB handing out €82.6bn of such credit to 255 banks.

The success of the project is important for the 18 countries in the euro zone, grappling with record-high unemployment and fading economic growth.

Irish Times

Taoiseach Enda Kenny warned last night that resurgent economic growth would not free the Government to deliver a big tax cut in next month’s budget.

After a day in which Minister for Finance Michael Noonan upgraded his growth forecast for the second time in seven days, Mr Kenny declared that the decisions taken in coming weeks could secure Ireland’s recovery or threaten it. “While the public finances are not in a position to significantly reduce overall tax levels, the Government is committed to continuing to reform the tax system in a way that reinforces and secures our economic recovery,” he said.

Although the Government has been seeking for weeks to damp down the clamour for a giveaway budget in mid-October, the release yesterday of figures showing the economy grew at an annual rate of 7.7 per cent in April-June has increased its scope to start an overhaul of the income tax system next year .

Protests by asylum seekers in the State’s direct provision system are spreading as residents in a fifth centre in just over a week demonstrated over long delays in the asylum system.

The protests came as Government ministers met with non-governmental organisations to discuss plans for a working group that will review the direct provision system.

The asylum accommodation regime was set up 14 years ago, with the Government at the time saying those seeking asylum would spend about six months in the system.

Ireland has become “seriously uncompetitive” in terms of taxation with the country’s high captial gains tax rate proving to be a major barrier to creating jobs and encouraging entrepreneurship, according to a pre-Budget submission by the Irish Venture Capital Association (IVCA).

The submission points out that capital gains tax in Ireland is charged at 33 per cent while in the US, gains on assets held for more than 12 months are taxed at a maximum rate of 20 per cent. Closer to home, the rate in the UK meanwhile is between 18 per cent and 28 per cent but Entrepreneurs’ Relief can reduce this to as little as 10 per cent.

The IVCA said more favourable tax rates and incentives elsewhere means that many Irish entrepreneurs are seeing the benefits of setting up their business away from the Republic.

Irish Examiner

The Government's being told that there is now scope to unveil €400m in tax cuts in the budget in 25 days' time.

The call from the employer's body IBEC comes in the wake of yesterday's improving economic data.

The incoming President of the group told the Taoiseach in Dublin last night that the measures could include raising the point of entry for workers on to the higher tax rate, changes to the Universal Social Charge, and abolishing the pensions levy.

Europe

Euro Topics: EU at a loss over national identities: The referendum in Scotland has failed to provide an answer to the question of how the EU should deal with the struggles for national identity within its borders, the liberal Belgian daily Le Soir comments: "Is independence the most appropriate form for allowing people to express their identity and build the type of community that corresponds to their wishes? In Spain, the UK and in Belgium we have yet to hear a convincing yes argument in the context of the EU. That doesn't allow us to call such nationalist aspirations illegitimate, and gives us even fewer grounds to deny people the right to put them to a vote. And it certainly does not entitle the EU to threaten that [in case of a vote for independence] it will not allow the new countries to become members in their own right. Until now the supporters of the existing order, the independentists and the Europeans have in general avoided asking the real question: how can aspirations to national identity be reconciled with a united Europe?"

Hollande wants no more talk of reforms: Speaking on Thursday in the fourth biannual press conference of his term in office, France's President François Hollande focused on international crisis management. Domestic reforms have been wiped from the controversial head of state's agenda, the conservative French daily Le Figaro concludes: "It's not easy to follow this president. He implicitly acknowledges that his policies are a failure, but he denies anyone else the right to propose an alternative. Revise an obsolete social model? He won't hear of it. Work out a genuine and ambitious austerity plan? Nope. Relax the 35-hour work week regulations? Out of the question. Mass dismissals in the public sector and the state apparatus? No, no, a thousand times no. For lack of a truly audacious and goal-oriented policy, the president of the republic is condemning himself to a long-term practice of self-justification that won't convince a soul but will plunge the country into ruin."

Dutch need sensible tax reform: The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Thursday rejected the opposition's call for a sweeping fiscal reform within one year, saying he prefers to wait until he has sufficient support for the move. That's doing things the wrong way round, the left-liberal Dutch daily De Volkskrant complains: "Harmonising the extremely complex tax system calls for vision and understanding, not just balling different desires and interests together. The current system with its confusion of premiums, exemptions and deductions has become so complex precisely because every interest group with its own wish list had to be satisfied. ... The main focus of the reform is to make the taxation system more dependent on consumption and income. And in principle both measures meet with little resistance. ... Now, however, the reform threatens to fail as a result of ideological differences even though a new taxation system should be free of such ideological considerations."


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