Thursday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - September 25, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Sep 25, 2014 - 12:36 PM

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Irish Independent

THE State is on course to recoup €3.5bn of the money taxpayers pumped into bailing out AIB.

Plans to privatise part of the 'pillar bank' are gathering momentum, with the selection of a panel of brokers and investment banks who will advise the Department of Finance on the move.

The sale of between 25pc and 30pc of the bank through a partial stock market flotation is likely to take place early next year, according to Ciaran Callaghan of Merrion Stockbrokers, who was previously an analyst at the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA).

AIB's valuation has been rising since it returned to profit earlier this year, lifting expectations that it will be sold.

The euro languished at 14-month lows in Asia today after reported remarks from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi rekindled expectations of more policy steps to support the euro zone.

The euro was already under pressure after surrendering to stop-loss selling on Wednesday, as a major chart bulwark at $1.2800 gave way.

The common currency fell as low as $1.2762, nearing the 2013 trough of $1.2740. A break there would take it back to levels not seen since late 2012. It last traded on Thursday at $1.2767, down 0.1 percent on the day.

"We stand ready to use additional unconventional instruments within our mandate, and alter the size or composition of our unconventional interventions should it become necessary to further address risks of a too prolonged period of low inflation," Draghi said in an interview published on Thursday by the Lithuanian business daily Verslo Zinios.

TEN years of strong growth, and 10 years of stable growth. That is the double promise from the Government. It is hard to know which will be the more difficult to achieve, but certain that it will take some doing to achieve both.

Last week's remarkable statistics make the first promise at least credible. One would have thought it would be a long time before we saw a Finance Minister talking down the economy, but that is what Michael Noonan was doing with his estimate of 4.5pc growth this year.

As observers were quick to point out, in effect, that has already been achieved. The economy would have to be stagnate in the current three months, and Christmas be no better than last year, for his forecast to be right. There is no sign that this will be the case - quite the reverse.

There is one more monthly Exchequer return before the Budget and there is every chance that September's returns will be buoyant, leading to forecasts of 5pc, even 7pc growth in 2014.

Irish Times

Members of the European Parliament have parliamentary immunity in the exercise of their duties as MEPs, a spokesman for the European Parliament has said.

The comment follows a decision by Independent MEP Nessa Childers to write to the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee after she received a number of legal letters from solicitors representing Irish commissioner-designate Phil Hogan.

Speaking this morning in Brussels, a spokesman for the European Parliament said: “Members are covered by immunity in expression of their duties. If it is considered as an exercise of their duties, then immunity applies.“

Mohamed El-Erian was the chief executive of one the biggest investment funds in the world, earning about a $100 million a year, when he suddenly decided to quit in January this year.

His departure from the $2 trillion Pimco fund rocked the investment world, where he was seen as the natural successor to chief Bill Gross.

His reason for leaving was a cliché of departing executives: the wish to spend more time with family.

However, he has now revealed his decision was prompted by a note from his 10-year-old daughter, detailing 22 milestone events in her life he had missed because of his busy work schedule.

“About a year ago, I asked my daughter several times to do something - brush her teeth I think it was - with no success. I reminded her that it was not so long ago that she would have immediately responded,” he said in a recent interview with Worth magazine.

There is no prospect of social partnership being revived as the economy continues its recovery, according to the leaders of employers group Ibec and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

However, David Begg, general secretary of ICTU, said years of pent-up pressure on incomes could lead to a wage explosion in the next few years.

On the Irish Times business podcast yesterday Larry Murrin, president of Ibec, said there is little appetite among employers for a renewal of social partnership, which is credited with helping to get the economy moving in the late 1980s while failing to put the brakes on during the property bubble.

“I think social partnership has had its time,” Mr Murrin said. “I don’t see one solution as fitting or curing everybody’s ills. I think solutions around pay over the next couple of years are going to be done or found on a company-by-company or sector-by-sector basis.

Irish Examiner

Euro-area bond yields near record lows are leading governments to be complacent, according to Standard and Poor’s head of sovereign ratings Moritz Kraemer.

The reduction in borrowing costs across the region, resulting from European Central Bank (ECB) stimulus measures, risks removing governments’ incentive to improve their fiscal position, Kraemer said during an interview on Bloomberg Television’s On The Move with Jonathan Ferro in London.

“The risk is indeed of complacency — that national governments think the rates are at historic lows because of their achievements on the reform agenda, while in fact, most of it is due to the monetary policy stance,” Kraemer said.

His comments coincide with ECB President Mario Draghi and France’s nominee for European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici each saying that nations within the currency bloc needed to act on fiscal deficits.


Euro Topics: A Frenchman kidnapped by Islamist terrorists in Algeria has been murdered. Video footage of his beheading was published on the Internet on Wednesday. Before killing him his kidnappers had demanded that Paris refrain from participating in the military strikes against the IS. Even a military strike that contravenes international law is justified in the fight against the IS, commentators write, and warn France not to yield.

France must not let itself be blackmailed: France must not buckle after the beheading of French tourist Hervé Gourdel, the liberal daily Libération urges: "Hervé Gourdel, a lover of mountain summits, died because of a war in which he played no part whatsoever. In this he resembles the French, who are now suddenly aware of the risks that they are taking in opposing Islamic fanaticism. Some will say that the military interventions were overhasty, and that we took part without being directly affected. ... But doubting our course now would be to justify the barbarians' tactics. Giving up in the midst of this drama would mean to let weakness triumph over intelligence. The justified horror this crime provokes must not lead to irrational fears."

Obama right to ignore international law: US President Barack Obama announced further attacks against IS units in Iraq and Syria on Wednesday at the UN General Assembly, and called on the international community to join in the effort. Even if Obama's airstrikes are hardly compatible with international law, they are the right thing to do, the liberal weekly Die Zeit comments: "Clearly there's a difference between an autocrat using remote-controlled separatists to annex foreign territory and a democratically elected head of state ordering airstrikes after prolonged deliberation. ... We won't be able to deduce a rule from what has been started in Syria. Obama's airstrikes are not a new development in international law. ... Yes, the law has been ignored, but for a good reason, or at least for the right reason - to stop or at least slow down the triumphal advance of the 'holy warriors', and hopefully soon put an end to the human and moral tragedy that is the Syrian civil war."

France pampers spoilt Air France pilots: After ten days of strike Air France announced on Wednesday that it was shelving plans to expand its budget subsidiary Transavia, but further strikes are still planned up to Friday. The conservative daily De Telegraaf is incensed: "The pilots refuse to accept pay cuts meant to help the subsidiary Transavia compete against the rapidly growing budget airlines Ryanair and Easyjet. Without the slightest scruple the spoilt pilots saddle the company with 20 million euros in costs for each day and damage the reputation of its partner KLM in the process. ... And to top it all, Air France is actually bowing to the demands of the strikers. This is above all symptomatic of a France still dominated by left-wing trade unions. A country that is getting deeper and deeper into debt and refuses to understand that its labour market needs radical reform to remain competitive."

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