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European Central Bank is expected to keep its
rates unchanged today after its commitment to buy bonds has pushed down bond
ECB governing council members meeting in Frankfurt today will hold the
benchmark rate at a record low of 0.75%.
Citigroup said Wednesday that it will cut about
4% of its workforce or 11,000 jobs, in the first major move by its new
chief executive Michael Corbat.
About 6,200 job cuts are targeted in Citi's consumer banking
unit and the firm said that it will sell or scale back consumer operations in Pakistan,
Paraguay, Romania, Turkey and Uruguay and focus on 150 cities around the world
"that have the highest growth potential in consumer banking."
About 1,900 job cuts will come from the institutional clients group, which
includes the investment bank. The company will also reduce jobs in technology and
operations by using more automation and moving jobs to "lower-cost locations."
Cit has over 2,000 jobs in Dublin's international
Aer Lingus reported today that total flown passenger
numbers, including Aer Lingus Regional operations, increased by 2.1% to 766,000
in November 2012 compared to November 2011.
Short haul flown passengers, including
Aer Lingus Regional, in November 2012 were 679,000, an increase of 1.0% on
November 2011, while long haul flown passengers in November 2012 were 87,000, an
increase of 13.0% on November 2011.
Aer Lingus mainline’s flown passenger
load factor in November 2012 increased by 1.5 points on November 2011 to 76.6%.
Short haul flown load factor was 70.5%, a decrease of 3.1 points on November
2011, with capacity decreasing by 2.7%. Short haul flown load factor
performance, with its high dependency on Irish originating demand, was adversely
impacted by threatened industrial action in the month. Long haul flown load
factor was 85.7%, an increase of 8.4 points on November 2011, with capacity
increasing by 1.3% on prior year.
Dónal O'Neill of Goodbody says: "Ryanair has
delivered a strong set of traffic data for November, with capacity and passenger
numbers up 4.9% on a flat load factor of 80%. In the twelve months to
November, Ryanair has carried 79.6m passengers with rolling 12-month load factor
stable at 82%. Having carried 12.5m pax in October and November, Ryanair only
has to carry 4.5m (-5.6% yoy) passengers in December to hit our 17m pax target
for Q3. This would imply capacity of 5.7m seats in December at last year's load
factor of 79% equating to a capacity reduction of 5.8% in December yoy."
Justin Doyle, Investec Bank Ireland, said today:
"As we sit down at our desks, it is comforting to know that Greece isn’t
too far away from the headlines. S& P have downgraded Greece to 'selective
default' from CCC, having said that it is fully expected that they will
return to CCC once the debt buyback programme is complete.
Over to the U.S. and it seems that the Democrats and Republicans are in
the throes of some serious horse trading. Press reports are saying that
among other innovative plans, they are near a compromise on the top tax rate
i.e. setting it above the 35% and below the 39.6% highs of the Clinton
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand held rates at 2.5% with a slightly more
hawkish statement blaming inflation concerns, prompting a surge higher in
the NZD in overnight trading.
Back to Europe and later today all eyes will be on the BoE and the ECB
as they deliver their monthly rate announcements. We’re not expecting any
huge shocks with rates to remain unchanged from both Central Banks. We do
feel that Mr. Draghi may be deliver a slightly more downbeat statement
following the rate announcement as recent European economic stats have been
on the weaker side."
Irish Budget 2013 places focus on wealth: Conall Mac Coille of Davy,
comments - - "Yesterday's Irish Budget for 2013 implemented consolidation
measures worth €3.5bn (2% of GDP), split between €1.4bn of tax rises and €1.9bn
of new spending cuts. An additional €700m of cuts to health (to bring it back
within expenditure limits) brings the total expenditure savings to be found in
2013 to €2.6bn.
The cuts are expected to be sufficient to reduce the deficit from 8.2% of GDP
in 2012 to 7.5% in 2013, with debt peaking at 121% of GDP in 2013, falling to
117% in 2015. As ever, concerns remain that Ireland may not be able to achieve
the GDP growth assumption underpinning the medium-term budgetary plans, to
stabilise the debt/GDP ratio. The government's forecast for 1.5% GDP growth is
above our forecast of 0.9%, and also the EU/IMF forecast of 1.1%.
Irish households will bear the brunt of the tax measures, with the government
reaffirming its commitment to maintain the corporation tax rate at 12.5%. The
tax measures are equivalent to 1.7% of household disposable income, which will
clearly depress consumer spending in 2013. Within the revenue-raising measures,
there was a clear focus on wealth. As expected, the value-based property tax was
introduced yesterday — this is expected to raise €250m in 2013 and €500m in
2014. Increases in capital gains and capital acquisition taxes, in addition to a
higher rate of DIRT, are expected to contribute €130m in 2013. Amongst the other
measures, excise duties on alcohol and tobacco and higher vehicle registration
and motor taxes are expected to contribute €355m.
On spending, the focus of the €2.6bn cuts was inevitably on the high-spending
departments of Health and Social Protection. A cut in child benefit is expected
to deliver €136m, job seekers benefit €33m, and the household benefits package
€60m. In Health, €330m is expected to be saved in drug costs and €308m in
pay-related savings. However, with net voted expenditure in these two
departments over-running budget targets by close to €1bn in 2012, there will
clearly be doubts about whether cuts can be achieved.
Indeed, the spending cuts are highly focused on pay savings. In total, €750m
in full-year pay bill savings are expected to be made in 2013. These include
€458 full-year pay-related savings in Health, €46m from the Garda Siochana
(police service) and a further €220m of unallocated pay savings that have yet to
be negotiated. The total planned path of public sector job cuts remained
unchanged yesterday. Full-time equivalents are set to fall to 282,500 by
end-2014, from 290,700 in Q3 2012 — broadly half the pace of public sector job
cuts seen in 2011 and 2012."
Economic View: Budget 2013 – The long fiscal
grind continues; Dermot O'Leary comments - - "Irish budgets have lost much
of their mystique over recent years due to the arrival of the Troika and the
imposition of strict budgetary oversight. As a result, fiscal adjustment plans
have been set out in advance, leaving budget day simply to fill in the gaps as
to the specifics of the spending and taxation measures are. With leaks in the
media being part of the budget run-in, there was little in the way of surprises
in the announcements made yesterday.
Nevertheless, the €3.5bn in austerity measures announced yesterday represent
a very tough fiscal effort by the Irish government. This takes the cumulative
fiscal consolidation since 2008 to €27.5bn, amounting to 17% of GDP. This effort
shows clear political will to tackle the fiscal problems. However, Ireland’s
budget deficit is still estimated to be 7.5% of GDP in 2013. Efforts to make
inroads in reducing the budget deficit have been hampered first by the collapse
in the economy in real and nominal terms and the resulting spike in social
benefits and sharp decline in tax revenues. As a result, Ireland will still have
the highest budget deficit and second highest primary deficit in the euro area
The Department of Finance estimates that the structural primary deficit will
fall to 2% in 2013, down from 4% in 2012. However, given that the government is
targeting a primary surplus of 3% by 2015, there is clearly much work to do.
Ireland can succeed, but growth is key if tax revenue targets are to be met in
2014 and 2015. There are still clear risks that must not be ignored. See our
note this morning for more details."
Financials: Key points of relevance from
Budget 2013; Eamonn Hughes qand Colm Foley comment - - "
The Minister for Finance released Budget 2013 yesterday with the main focus
for the banks likely to be on the property side (aside from the obvious
contractionary impact of the budget on domestic demand).
On balance, there were a range of measures which should help the commercial
property market. The Minister announced that Real Estate Investment Trusts
(REITs) will be introduced. Also, if a commercial property is bought prior to
end 2013 and held for 7 years, then the gain attributable to that seven year
period will be relieved from CGT.
On the residential housing side, the main factor was the heavily flagged
0.18% residential property tax (0.25% on amounts over €1m). Stamp duty rates on
residential property were left unchanged (1% up to €1m and 2% thereafter) and as
per previous guidance, mortgage interest relief will no longer be available to
purchasers after 2012 but relief levels for 2012 were slightly raised.
Elsewhere, the government has decided to retain some legacy tax based property
reliefs given the vulnerability of small investors to insolvency. However, it
sees scope for larger investors to pay more and is proposing a property relief
surcharge of 5% on investors with a gross income over €100,000.
On pensions, whilst the EU/IMF programme commits the government to move to
the standard rate of tax relief on pensions, there will be no alteration in
2013. However, as flagged, the Minister announced that it will no longer
"subsidise" contributions to pensions funds designed to deliver retirement
income over €60,000 per annum.
The headline grabber was the well flagged residential
property tax, but on balance commercial property probably fares better than the
residential side. However, overall, we won’t be adjusting financials estimates
post the budget."
skyscrapers and immaculate beaches of Singapore's seaport look out on one of the
world’s largest parking lots: mile after mile of empty cargo ships, as far as
the eye can see.
fleets bob at anchor, with empty cargo holds, off the coasts of southeast
Malaysia and Hong Kong. And dozens of newly built ships float empty near the
giant shipyards of South Korea and China, their owners from all over the world
reluctant to accept delivery during one of the worst markets ever for the global
recently as six weeks ago large freighters that can carry bulk commodities like
iron ore or grain were fetching charter rates of $15,000 a day. Now, brokers and
owners say, the going rate is $6,000 a day. If any customers can even be found.
reports that for the
first year since the futures were created, Brent crude is poised to overtake
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil as the world’s most-traded commodity.
trading in Brent jumped 14% to average 567,000 contracts in the year to November
20 compared with all of 2011, while WTI fell 17% to 575,000, according to data
from the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London and New York Mercantile Exchange
compiled by Bloomberg. The number of Brent futures changing hands has exceeded
those for WTI every month from April through October,
the longest streak since at least 1995.
Brent, produced in the
North Sea, is gaining favour among traders because of its role as the benchmark
for energy prices from Saudi Arabia to Russia. Prices have climbed 34% in the
past two years, reflecting everything from war in Libya to the embargo on Iran.
WTI, the main grade in the US, has risen 9% as the nation, which prohibits crude
exports, has struggled to clear a glut at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point
for Nymex futures.