See Search Box
lower down this column for searches of Finfacts news pages. Where there may be
the odd special character missing from an older page, it's a problem that
developed when Interactive Tools upgraded to a new content management system.
Finfacts is Ireland's leading business information site and
you are in its business news section.
Brian Lenihan, Irish Minister for Finance, arriving for the Eurogroup meeting, Brussels, Feb 14, 2011
Eurogroup: The European
commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs,
Olli Rehn, said today that a unilateral Irish re-negotiation
of the EU/IMF deal is not feasible but he signalled that the
interest rate could be adjusted.
Rehn was speaking in
Brussels, ahead of the monthly meeting of the Eurogroup of
Eurozone finance ministers.
The commissioner said the EU had signed a Memorandum of
Understanding with the Irish State and "we expect
continuity" from the next government.
But he said there could be "changes to the pricing
policy," and he made clear that this would be as a result of
an EU agreement rather than Irish political pressure.
In Berlin, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, said after
meeting German chancellor, Angela Merkel, that he told her
Ireland wouldn’t consider changing its corporation tax rate
as part of a proposed pact of competitiveness agreed by
Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president.
Speaking to Reuters, Kenny said corporate tax was
fundamental to attracting foreign direct investment to
He said his party had “signed on” to discuss other
issues proposed in the pact such as increasing the pension
age and greater fiscal consolidation and regulation in the
In Brussels, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said
there is "no leeway" to re-negotiate the EU/IMF deal
and to suggest it's possible was "very misleading."
Also speaking to reporters as he arrived for the Eurogroup meeting, German Finance
Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said his government is seeking agreement on a package
of measures to strengthen fiscal policy by the end of March. The German
government is linking agreement on that package to an expansion of the European
Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) bailout fund.
"On the sidelines we will probably discuss whether there is a need to discuss
additional measures for the EFSF in the short term, but the markets are so
stable that we probably won't upset them with unnecessary discussion," he
"We'll discuss all these questions but it's clear that we won't take any
decisions," he added.
"Everybody knows that some of these economies on Europe's periphery are much more vulnerable than being talked about at the moment and as soon as there is any slight movement in the global situation, it's noticed here in Europe," Edward Hugh, independent economist and blogger told CNBC after Portuguese yields rose to Euro-area records last week:
The global financial crisis of the past two years continues to reverberate
throughout the investment world, introducing a number of important “new
realities and challenges” for institutional investors as they consider their
strategies for 2011 and beyond, according to global pension consultants, Mercer.
However, recent market conditions
have been good, and the ‘financial health’ of many investors will have improved
significantly in recent months. “For pension funds, the improvement in
funding levels allows schemes to face the challenges of 2011 in a proactive and
decisive manner,” according to Noel Collins, senior consultant with Mercer.
Mercer data shows that pension funds’ investment returns have averaged c. 12.5%
in the 12 months to end-January 2011, whilst liability values will generally
have declined due to rising bond yields. The combination of these factors
provides a very good opportunity now for many schemes to consider de-risking
their investment strategy.
However, the scale of the challenge
should not be underestimated. The Mercer data also shows that even with the
recent recovery in markets, pension funds have lost money over the last three
years, down 2% p.a. “Although economic and financial confidence is
tentatively returning to some Western countries, the crisis has wreaked havoc on
a number of nations’ balance sheets and disrupted the credit allocation process
in Western economies, and added to the potential for global tensions,”
commented Brian Griffin, head of Mercer’s Investment Consulting business in
Ireland. Accordingly, investors and pension funds face a number of new realities
Three key realities are: The whole approach to bond investing
needs to be revisited. Growth in major developing economies such as China and
India raises fundamental questions about a two-speed world for investment.
Inflation is a growing concern
longer-term with regards to whether current investment portfolios are adequately
“Investors should start to
focus more attention on the longer term fallout and implications from the
crisis, and consider how to reflect this in their portfolios. Some of the
outcomes have greater visibility, others less. This means ensuring that those
managing investment portfolios retain the flexibility to respond to
developments, and seek to ‘win by not losing,”
according to Griffin. “Mercer believes that the new realities of the
investment environment will create many opportunities, but that they also call
for fresh thinking, the ability to make quick decisions, and resilience in the
face of a distinct lack of certainty,” he added.
President Barack Obama discusses the importance of education in allowing the U.S. to compete in a global economy, from Parkville Middle School in Baltimore , Maryland:
Zurich: Zurich Life Assurance
plc (formerly Eagle Star) today announced what it termed "another market
beating set of annual new business results for the year ended 31st
December 2010." This followed
Zurich Financial Services Group reporting last Thursday that it performed well
with its Global Life division contributing to the Group’s profitability through
steady top-line growth coupled with strong profit margins.
Zurich Life’s Irish new business
performed strongly in a competitive market with total new business APE
(excluding investment only business) up 1% to €177.9m for the year ended
31st December 2010 (€176.3m 2009) beating an average market fall of 6%;
Zurich Life grew its total
market share to 18% (excluding investment only business) compared to 16% at
the end of 2009;
Single premium pensions business
(excluding investment only business) increased by 22% to €757.4.m (€622.8m
2009). Zurich’s entry into the Group Annuity Buy-out market and demand for
Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs) and Buy-out Bonds contributed
to this strong pensions performance;
Continued strength in PRSAs -
with annual premium PRSA new business up 6% to €22.7m for 2010 (€21.5m
2009). Single premium PRSA new business increased by 7% to €166.1m (€155.1m
Zurich’s European Manufacturing
Hub established in Ireland in 2009 "is delivering significant cross
border new business APE growth from products produced in Ireland and
launched into the UK, Italian and German markets. Total new business APE
from the European Hub more than doubled to €82.3m for the year ended 31st
December 2010 (€28.8m 2009)."
Boeing on Sunday unveiled its new 747-8 Intercontinental, the new high-capacity passenger airplane that it says offers airlines the lowest operating costs and best economics of any large passenger airplane while providing enhanced environmental performance. Approximately 10,000 guests, including customers, Boeing employees, government officials, partners and suppliers, gathered in the factory in Everett, Washington State, to witness the premiere of the Intercontinental.
The model when first launched in 1970, a year after men first landed on the moon, was the first widebody jet. It became a potent symbol of American technology - - Michael Hennigan.
In New York Monday, the Dow
fell 18 points or 0.15% to 12,255.
500 rose 0.01%, and the Nasdaq gained 0.20%.