THE number of small and medium businesses in growth mode fell in
the second quarter of the year to fewer than a third despite strong signs of an
economic recovery, a survey suggests.
And more than 80pc of firms questioned said they were not exporting, according
to the latest assessment of the SME sector from cross border development body
Its Business Monitor survey for the second quarter found that the number of
companies that were growing fell to 29pc between April and June compared with
37pc in the first three months of the year.
GloHealth is to target young people and those who have dropped
their insurance in recent years with an innovative plan that allows people to
buy a cheap 'cash plan' but then upgrade to full cover if they need hospital
The company is to sell insurance covering GP visits, scans, tests and small sums
for each night spent in hospital, for as little as €395.
If a customer with the cash plan needs to go into hospital, they will then be
able to upgrade to a full hospital plan, and only have to pay the difference
between the price of the cash plan and the hospital plan.
ITALIAN Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan has said he is
convinced that the European Central Bank (ECB) is gearing up to do more to boost
growth and stem the threat of deflation in the eurozone.
It comes just days after new figures showed growth in the 18-member bloc
stagnated in the second quarter of the year, as the German economy shrank and
growth remained flat in France. Italy has also slipped back into recession.
In an interview with BBC radio, Mr Padoan said the ECB must be consistent about
bringing inflation back up close to 2pc.
"I'm convinced that more can be done and I'm also convinced that the ECB is
getting ready to do more, also given the dismal inflation figures that we
recently got, with some deflationary cases here and there," he said.
Ireland’s borrowing costs hit a new record low today following
the decision by Fitch to upgrade the State’s credit rating on Friday.
Fitch became the second major agency to restore an A-grade to the Irish economy
in the wake of the financial crisis.
Benchmark 10-year yields fell 2.9 basis points to 1.97 per cent today putting
the State’s borrowing costs below that of the US and UK.
Wall Street banks are drawing up preliminary plans to move some
London-based activities to Ireland to address concerns that the UK is drifting
apart from the EU.
People familiar with Bank of America, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley said that
they considered Ireland a favourable location for some of their European
business if they needed to move them out of the UK. One said he was already
planning to move some activities to Ireland.
The people said their plans were in most cases still at very early stages. But
they said the US banks had started preparing for the euro zone’s impending
banking union that threatens to isolate Britain and, ultimately, for a possible
UK exit from the EU.
German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz has been found guilty of
manipulating prices for after-sales services in China, the official Xinhua news
agency reported, citing regulators.
The report made no mention of possible penalties, but China’s 2008 anti-monopoly
law allows the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country’s
anti-trust regulator, to impose fines of up to 10 percent of a company’s China
revenues for the previous year. An array of industries, from milk powder makers
to electronics firms, have been coming under the spotlight in recent years as
China intensifies its efforts to bring companies into compliance with the 2008
legislation. The auto industry has been under particular scrutiny, with a wave
of investigations prompting carmakers such as Mercedes-Benz, owned by Daimler
AG, Volkswagen AG’s Audi and BMW to slash prices on spare parts in recent weeks.
Flashes of illumination rather than fireworks are expected at
this week’s annual meeting of top central bankers and economists in Jackson
Few predict anything so momentous as the speech by Federal Reserve chairman Ben
Bernanke two years ago that paved the way for an unprecedented $85 billion per
month stimulus plan.
But policymakers will discuss at length their thinking around the labour markets
of major economies at the August 21-23 meeting, perhaps dropping clues about the
path for monetary policy in the months ahead.
The spotlight will be on Janet Yellen, who will speak on Friday in her first
appearance at Jackson Hole as Fed chair.
Euro Topics: At a meeting in Brussels on Friday
the EU's foreign ministers paved the way for individual states to supply weapons
to the Kurdish forces in Iraq. Finally the EU is speaking with one voice, some
commentators write in praise. Others call on their countries to join in with
Germany must finally take action: German
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has promised Iraq's prime minister
designate Haider al-Abadi support in preventing the Islamists from advancing
further. However the German government is still discussing whether or not to
supply weapons to the Kurds. The time for deliberation is over, the
liberal-conservative German daily Tagesspiegel admonishes: "The murdering
continues every second as the talking, weighing up and arguing goes on. And it
is not happening in secret but with the world looking on. ... There is no
perfect solution in such a conflict, no clear-cut black and white. In the end
the decision boils down to what is the lesser evil. This is not a pretty
realisation, but it is inevitable. After a week in which a growing number of
voices in politics and society no longer rule out weapons deliveries, it looks
like all the arguments have been voiced. The time has come to take action."
France retreats into its shell: The French
economy stagnated again in the second quarter of 2014. But instead of protesting
the French seem increasingly resigned to this fate, the regional daily Courrier
de l'Ouest laments: "There's every reason to be outraged at the current
impasse: the extreme isolation of the president, the government's inability to
change the trend or implement reforms. Meanwhile there's nothing but the same
old complaints from business and the same old conservatism from the social
partners... France, the proud home of the rooster, has become the land of the
snail. Slow, resigned, withdrawn, weather-dependent. But also patient. They say
molluscs proliferate most in places that have long been isolated. That's what
we're like. Will our snail-like condition allow us to crawl out of our shell one
day? To find the way out of the moral crisis that has left us more paralysed
than all our European neighbours?"
US can't bomb Iraq into peace: The US military
has been carrying out airstrikes against the militias of the Islamic State (IS)
for over a week. According to military reports, the terrorist group has been
slowed but not stopped. US bombs have never brought peace to the region, the
left-leaning Swiss weekly paper WOZ writes: "After decades of conflict, everyone
on the ground is either directly or indirectly supported by the US, or is
fighting, like the IS, with American weapons. Obama is now the fourth US
president in a row to bomb Iraq. Why has this clever erstwhile prince of peace
let himself be forced into worsening the chaos with airstrikes? ... What
President Obama - perhaps - views as a limited operation, the old and the new
hawks in the US see as a licence to impose 'muscular humanitarianism', of which
there can be no doubt that the only winner will be the arms industry. Or as what
remains of the US peace movement say: the Iraqi people have never benefited from
a US bomb. And they never will."