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.
reports Paul Polman , Unilever CEO, said on Tuesday that Europe is facing 10
years of economic stagnation while the US grapples with the rise of an “emerging
poor” class dependent on government benefits.
“We are in for at least 10 years of slow economic growth in Europe, and I don’t
see that changing,” Polman said in an interview yesterday at Bloomberg’s New
York office. “If you run a business like mine and don’t assume that, you are
fooling yourself. I hope for the benefit of Europe I am proven wrong, but even
then we are in a better position by taking that as our starting point. The key
thing is to see reality in the eye.”
The London- and Rotterdam-based consumer products
company has adapted to deteriorating economic conditions by cutting costs,
expanding in emerging markets and pushing lower-cost brands such as Suave
shampoo, according to Polman.
In November 2012, consumer prices in
Germany were up 1.9% on November 2011, so the general
rise in prices slowed down somewhat. In October and September 2012, the
inflation rate as measured by the consumer price index amounted to 2.0%. An
inflation rate below 2.0% had last been measured in July 2012 (+1.7%). Compared
with October 2012, the consumer price index fell by 0.1% in November 2012.
Destatis, the federal statistics office, said the
slight decrease of the inflation rate in November 2012 is largely due to energy
prices (household energy and motor fuels): the price of energy rose 3.8% in
November 2012 on November 2011; that is a smaller increase than in the months
before. Excluding energy prices, the rate of inflation has remained constant at
+1.6% since October 2012. It is increasingly determined by higher food prices:
within a year’s time, food prices went up by as much as 4.2%.
Justin Doyle, Investec Bank Ireland, commented today:
"Could it be QE4? We’ll just have to wait and see. The FOMC announcement
is at 5.30pm today and we expect the Fed to replace Operation Twist with an
outright asset purchase programme in longer-dated MBS purchases somewhere in
the region of $40-$50bn per month. We also expect them to confirm their
shift to objective led guidelines (unemployment levels, inflation etc.) as
opposed to their current format of date focussed.
Staying with the U.S., budget deficit negotiations are ongoing with one
commentator aptly describing them as a ‘slow dance’. Time is of the essence
but we do feel that the levity of the situation is not being overlooked and
a deal of sorts will be hammered out in the next week or so.
So potentially if we take additional QE and a US fiscal deal in the bag,
one has to look at the New Year in a slightly more positive tone and should
lead to increased appetite and a weaker USD and maybe even a break out of
the tight FX ranges we have been trading in over the last few months."
Economic View: Some tweaks to Ireland’s Troika targets;
of Goodbody comments -- "Following the eighth successful review of Ireland’s programme by the Troika in
October, an updated Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was released yesterday.
This updates the Government’s targets for 2013 on a quarterly basis.
Unsurprisingly, the broad outline is similar to the MoU released following the
seventh review. However, there are some changes in emphasis for the fourth
quarter of 2012 in particular in relation to the SME sector, which were partly
dealt with in Finance Minister Michael Noonan’s Budget 2013 speech last
These measures include: (1) Improving access to finance for the
sector; (2) developing key performance indicators to specifically assess the
workout of non-performing SME loans; and (3) improving the efficiency of the
corporate insolvency framework for SMEs. The overspend in Health also comes in
for specific mention with the Government committed to taking “structural
measures” to tackle it. As we noted last week, the targeted savings in this
department are likely to be under heavy scrutiny by the Troika over the coming
Amongst the actions required in the first quarter of 2013 is the “remedying” of
the legal issues related to the 2009 Land and Conveyancing legislation. These
have prevented banks from repossessing certain properties since a High Court
ruling in 2011. A resolution to this would be helpful to the banks in dealing
Staff reports from the IMF and the European Commission relating to the eighth
review remain outstanding. These usually contain further details in relation to
growth forecasts and the funding position of the sovereign. In addition the IMF,
on the request of the Government, is preparing a paper, due shortly, outlining
Ireland’s path to regaining full access to financial markets and exiting the
bailout programme. Access to a precautionary credit line is expected to be a key
Banks: Stress tests in Q3 next year; Eamonn Hughes and Colm Foley comment
- - "The Programme of Financial Support for Ireland memorandum of understanding was
published yesterday (dated November 29). Our economics team look at the macro
implications above and here we consider the implications for the banks.
Beyond the on-going reviews, in Q412 the main focus will be ensuring that the
draft personal insolvency bill provides a framework for the appropriate
licencing and regulation of personal insolvency practitioners ahead of what
looks like Q1 implementation. In addition, for Q1 the Irish authorities need to
finalise the Capital Requirements Directive legislative text and draft
guidelines for the creation and subsequent holding of liquidity buffers by the
banks. Also, having secured adequate protections for debtor’s principal private
residence in the Personal Insolvency Bill, the authorities must address the
unintended constraints on banks of repossessions identified in the Dunne ruling.
Finally, the authorities must ensure prudent provisioning of loan modifications.
For Q2, there must be agreement on the methodology for PCAR 2013 and a review of
progress in undertaking mortgage arrears. Also, Ireland will review an EU
directive on a resolution fund levy. PCAR 2013 is anticipated to complete in Q3
and results discussed with the troika and aligned with the timing of the next
EBA exercise. Given a budgeted exit from Ireland by end 2013, many wrap-up
reports are targeted in Q4.
The memorandum gives some clarity on the next stress test timing. Its alignment
with the EBA also hints at likely capital and funding targets that are closer to
EBA levels than was the case in PCAR 2011, a point highlighted in our recent
Stand and Delever note. Elsewhere, the move to close the loophole on
repossessions will likely see a material uptick in repossessions in the buy to
let space in 2013."
Glanbia Second Co-op vote today: Liam Igoe of Goodbody comments - - "Members of Glanbia Co-op vote for the second time today on whether to allow
their ownership of Glanbia plc to fall below 51%. If 75% of members vote in
favour, the Co-op will sell a further 3% of the stock to bolster the equity of
the newly formed Glanbia Ingredients Ireland JV (60% owned by the Co-op, 40% by
the Plc). 75% of the members need to vote in favour, though the milk suppliers
sub-group also need to vote in favour by a similar majority. While the first
vote was carried by an 82% majority, the milk sub-group voted in favour by a
smaller majority of 77%.
If the vote is not carried by the required 75% of members, it may act as an
impediment to the pace of the plc expansion through acquisition. Any plc placing
of shares would require the Co-op to subscribe for 51% of shares. The Co-op will
be more focused on the expansion of its dairy activities in Ireland in advance
on the 2015 elimination of milk quotas. The results may be known later this
Legal loophole on repossessions finally to be addressed:
Conall MacCoille of Davy comments -- "Stocks markets rose sharply yesterday, with the Euro Stoxx 50 up 1.1% and the
S&P 500 up 0.7%. The German ZEW survey of investor sentiment was far better than
expected, with the reading moving into positive territory for the first time
since May. In addition, demand for risk assets was supported by expectations
that the Federal Reserve will announce today that it is replacing Operation
Twist with outright quantitative easing, worth $45bn of Treasuries per month.
Yesterday, the Irish Department of Finance published a new memorandum of
understanding (MOU) with the EU/IMF. The new MOU includes a commitment by the
government to address by end-Q1 2013, through new legislation, the legal
loophole exposed by the Dunne judgement impeding banks from repossessing
properties associated with mortgage loans in arrears.
In Q1 2012, there were 83,000 owner-occupiers and 29,000 buy-let-investor in 90+
day arrears. Both the draft personal insolvency legislation and official
commentary from the Central Bank suggest that banks' focus should be on
repossessing buy-to-let loans. We expect buy-to-let arrears to continue rising
in 2013, as investors' interest-only tracker mortgages move to principal and
interest payments, to close to 40,000. However, the stabilisation in private
sector employment since the beginning of 2011 should lead to a flattening-off in
new owner-occupier arrears.
Had Ireland followed UK rates of repossession on delinquent mortgages, there
should have been close to 20,000 repossessions. Clearly the Dunne judgement has
been an impediment. However, banks may be reluctant to repossess and sell
properties into a market starved of new mortgage lending. Nonetheless, we would
expect repossessions to rise from exceptionally low levels, providing some
additional supply into the housing market."
In New York Tuesday, the
Dow rose 79 points or 0.60% to 13,248.
The S&P 500 added 0.65%
and the Nasdaq advanced 1.18%.
The MSCI Asia
Pacific Index gained 0.5% Wednesday.
Nikkei 225 closed up 0.59%; China's Shanghai Composite Index added 0.39%; South
Korea's Kospi rose 0.55%; Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.17%; in Mumbai, the
Bombay Stock Exchange's Sensex 30 dipped 0.16%.
the Dow Jones Stoxx Europe 600 is up 0.04% in morning trading Wednesday.
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.