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News : International Last Updated: Aug 27, 2014 - 10:38 PM


Monday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - August 18, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Aug 18, 2014 - 2:33 PM

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Irish Independent

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 InterTrade-
Ireland.

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 treatment.

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.

Irish Times

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.

Irish Examiner

Flashes of illumination rather than fireworks are expected at this week’s annual meeting of top central bankers and economists in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

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.

Europe

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 weapons deliveries.

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."


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