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News : International Last Updated: Mar 6, 2014 - 2:49 PM


Markets: Ryanair reports traffic rise; Aer Lingus reports fall
By Finfacts Team
Mar 6, 2014 - 2:44 PM

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European Commission's report on Germany's current account surplus

Irish Continental Group today reported higher 2013 revenues and operating profits and the owner of Irish Ferries said the better economic outlook has encouraged it to invest in a new vessel on its Irish Sea routes.

Revenues rose 3.4% to €264.7m from €256.1m while operating profits for the year climbed 13% to €30m from €26.5m.

ICG said last year passenger traffic rose by 1.6% to 1.568m while the number of cars using its services dropped by 0.8% to 350,000.

Origin Enterprises, the agri-food group reported lower revenues in the six months to the end of January 2014 in its agri services division, but said it was raising its full year guidance.

The company said revenues fell 8.8% to €517.6m from €567.7m due to both lower global fertiliser and feed prices.

Irish Economy 2014: Did Ireland add 61,000 jobs in 2013?

European Commission warns on size of Germany's current account surplus

Irish pension managed funds delivered positive returns in February

Eurozone retail PMI data shows fall in trade in February

Ryanair today reported a 7% rise in total passenger numbers for February, carrying 4.5m passengers compared to 4.2m the same month last year.

The load factor - - the ratio of filled seats on each flight - - rose by 1% to 78%.

Ryanair: Very strong passenger growth in February: Dónal O'Neill of Goodbody commented - - "Ryanair has this morning released traffic figures for February which show passenger volumes up 7% yoy to 4.5m with load factor increasing 1pt to 78% as capacity increased by 1% to 5.8m seats. On a rolling 12 month basis, Ryanair has seen passenger volumes grow 3% to 81.9m at a load factor of 83%, in line with recent months.

Passenger growth for the quarter to date has been stronger than expected. However, with no Easter in March this year, we expect volume growth to tail off and end up in line with our Q414 estimate of c.14m, +0.5% yoy. Ryanair’s pricing strategy and customer focused initiatives are having a positive impact on volume growth in the short term and we continue to believe that the latter will have a positive longer term impact on margins and returns. BUY."

Aer Lingus in its report on traffic - - including regional operations - - dropped by 1.2% to 640,000.

The airline said long haul passenger numbers rose by 7% to 46,000, while short haul passenger numbers were down 3.8% to 512,000.

The overall passenger load factor was 67.3% compared to 68.3% for the same month in 2013.

Aer Lingus: Short haul traffic impacted by competition: O'Neill commented -  -"Aer Lingus passenger traffic for February shows a continuation of the strong trends in long haul but a slight deterioration in short haul traffic, which we expect is as a result of on-going competitive price. Overall mainline passenger numbers declined by 3% yoy with long haul increasing by 7% and short falling by 3.8%. Load factor for the mainline business was off by 1pt to 67.3% with long haul down 0.3pts to 64.7% and short haul down 1.3pts to 68.7%. Capacity for the month was up by 1.2% with long haul up 6.4% and short haul down 1.4%. Aer Lingus Regional had a very strong month, with passenger traffic up 12.3%. Including the Regional business, Group passenger volumes declined by 1.2% to 640k.

The outturn on short haul is somewhat weaker than we had expected and is likely a result of aggressive price competition from peers. However, we continue to expect that pricing will improve as we approach the second calendar quarter and with capacity in the market remaining tight over the summer, we remain optimistic on the outlook for Aer Lingus and the sector over the coming months."

Conall Mac Coille, chief economist, Davy comments: "The Italian and Spanish services PMIs were 52.9 and 53.7 in February, both indicating expansion. The Italian survey showed the strongest rise in business activity in almost three years.

The overall euro-area composite for both manufacturing and services was 53.3 in February, the strongest reading since June 2011, and indicating that the European recovery accelerated in early 2014. In this context, expectations for aggressive action by the ECB at today’s policy meeting have been pared back. Indeed, speculation on a potential rate cut has dissipated following last weeks’ release showing CPI inflation at 0.8% in January, stronger than expected.

The current consensus is for no change in the ECB’s key rates today. However, as European banks have paid back LTRO loans in recent months, draining excess liquidity from the banking system, pressure on lending rates such as EONIA and EURIBOR has emerged. So the ECB could take action to reduce short-term borrowing costs. This could take the form of no longer sterilising the ECB’s SMP bond-buying programme, by eliminating sales of short-term interest-bearing deposits to banks. That said, President Mario Draghi has indicated that the ECB might look at buying securities of European banks’ loans to households and companies. So perhaps more aggressive action cannot be ruled out.

Irish Live Register data for February showed the unemployment rate falling to 11.9%. This is down almost 2pp from the 13.8% recorded in February 2013 and 3.2pp from the 15.1% peak in February 2012. At this pace, Irish unemployment is set to fall below 10% by the end of 2015. The Irish unemployment rate is now below the euro-area aggregate of 12.0% in January.

The decline in Irish unemployment is not unexpected. The IBEC Business confidence survey surged through 2013, indicating that firms expected to hire at a faster pace. Similarly, yesterday’s PMI numbers indicated that Irish service sector companies added jobs at their fastest pace in February since October 2006. Looking forward, we expect Irish employment to grow by around 3.0% in 2014. But the strength of surveys of companies’ employment intentions and the continuing fall in unemployment pose upside risks to this view."

US markets

In New York Tuesday, the Dow rose 221 points or 1.41% to 16,396.

Both the S&P 500 added 1.53% and the Nasdaq advanced by 1.75%

US benchmark updates

Asia Markets

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.9% Thursday.

Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.59%; China's Shanghai Composite added 0.32%; South Korea's KOSPI gained 0.22%; Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slid 0.01% and in Mumbai, the Bombay Stock Exchange the S&P BSE India Sensex Index climbed 1.11%.

Europe Markets

In Europe, the Dow Jones Stoxx Europe 600  is up 0.18% in early afternoon trading Wednesday.

In Dublin, the ISEQ  has risen 0.78%

ICG no trade ; Origin Enterprises has added 2.64%.

European Benchmarks

Irish Share Prices

Euribor Rates

AIB Daily Report

Bank of Ireland Daily Report

Currencies

The euro is trading at $1.3813 and at £0.8267.

For live currency updates, check the right-hand column of the Finfacts home page.

The US dollar fell to $1.6038 per euro on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - an-all time record.

Commodities

The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of shipping costs for dry commodities, hit an all-time high of 11,771 on May 21, 2008. From that time it reversed and on the 5th of December, 2008 it hit a low of 663 - - close to a 1986 low.

On Thursday, July 15, 2010, the index fell for the 35th straight session, by 9 points, or 3.11%, to 1,619 points, Bloomberg report.

On Wednesday in London the BDI closed up 66 points or 4.98% to 1,391.

The index rose by 220% in 2013 to 2,237.

Global rebalancing — the tanker scrapyard index?

Crude oil for April 2014 delivery is trading on the Chicago York Mercantile Exchange (CME/Nymex) at $100.75 down 73 cents from Wednesday's close. In London, Brent for April 2014 delivery is trading on the International Commodities Exchange at $107.40. The North Sea benchmark accounts for two-thirds of the global market.

Finfacts, July, 15, 2013: US West Texas Intermediate oil benchmark jumps in July - - margin between WTI and Brent falls.

Gold spot price

The spot price of an oz of gold is trading on the CME in Chicago at $1,341.70 up $1.50 from Wednesday's closing - - the gold price fell 28% in 2013, the biggest annual plunge since 1981.

Gold had hit a record high of $1,921.15 a troy ounce on Sept 06, 2011.

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