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BUSINESS NEWS JAN 22, 2008
Due to a technical problem on Wednesday Jan 16, we are upgrading the news management system by a Canadian software company, which will be completed in coming days.

It has taken longer than anticipated. That is one of the drawbacks of outsourcing. C'est la vie - even Google News updating falls behind at times!

We expect to have our upgraded news system on stream on Wednesday.

Business News Headlines to Jan 16 2008

Today's News Links

Click for Tuesday's stories and links from Jan 17 2008

Markets News Tuesday; Bears run rampant in Europe and Asia-Pacific - Gold and Oil prices tumble

The bears have been rampant in markets across Asia-Pacific and Europe on Tuesday following a grim day of red ink on Monday.

The US markets were closed yesterday for the Martin Luther King holiday and some analysts say that the Dow may fall by up to 700 points when trading opens later Tuesday.

Bloomberg says that more than half of the world's biggest stock indexes fell into a bear market as mounting concern about a US recession dragged down banking and retail shares across Asia, Europe and Latin America.

The MSCI World Index's 3% decline yesterday, the steepest since 2002, left benchmarks in France, Mexico, Italy and 35 other countries at least 20% below their recent highs. Declines today turned Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand into bear markets as well.

The Wall Street Journal says today that Bank of China Ltd. appears increasingly likely to report a large write-down on its investments in US mortgage securities, illustrating the broadening reach of the global financial downturn -- and how one of China's biggest lenders was less astute at avoiding the problem than it initially thought.

The Journal says that analysts estimate that the state-owned lender, traditionally the most international of the country's big banks, may have to write off a quarter of the nearly $8 billion it holds in securities backed by subprime mortgages. While that still would leave the bank profitable for last year, it would be far larger than the $322 million the lender said it had set aside for such losses when it announced third-quarter results, the last time it publicly addressed the matter.

The possible subprime losses also raise questions about transparency at China's banks, which list shares for international investors in Hong Kong and domestically in Shanghai -- and which are among the biggest banks in the world by some measures.

Analysts said they can make only educated guesses at how much money Bank of China's subprime investments lost last year because China's rules don't require it to disclose the total until April, when it announces full results for 2007.

Asia-Pacific stocks fell sharply today  following Monday's sessions when fears of a US recession spread across the region.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index, which tracks more than 1,050 regional stocks, slid 6.7% and the Nikkei 225 in Japan dropped 5.7%, its lowest level since September, 2005. Shares in Hong Kong plunged 8%, while falling stocks in India prompted a halt to trading at the Bombay Stock Exchange. The Sensex 30 index is down 8.18%, making the 2-day plunge a massive 15%.

In South Korea, the Kospi Composite tumbled 4% after a 3% drop Monday. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 7.1% - the largest daily percentage fall since 1989. Asia-Pacific - Key Benchmarks

In Europe Monday, the Dow Jones 600 fell over 5%, the biggest fall since the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Germany's Dax closed down almost 7%; the FTSE 100 almost 5% and France's CAC 40 over 6%.

Spain's IBEX 35 index plunged 7.54% - its worst fall since 1987, placing Ibex-35, Spain's benchmark index, at 12,625 points. This is the first time since 2006 that the market closed below the 13,000 points. It had reached a historic high two months ago at 15,945 points.

In Dublin, the ISEQ index lost almost 4%.

In Europe Tuesday, the Dow Jones 600 has fallen almost 4% as has the FTSE 100. Germany's DAX has plunged almost 5% making the 2-day tumble 12%.

In Dublin, the ISEQ has fallen 3% to 6,074.

National benchmarks -  Europe

Irish Share Prices

Euribor Rates

AIB Daily Report

Bank of Ireland Daily Report

Currencies

The euro is trading at $1.4400 and at £0.7406.

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

Commodities

Crude oil for March delivery is trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) at $86.44 per barrel, down $412 overnight. In London, Brent is trading on the International Commodities Exchange at $85.32 down $2.19 cents.

The oil price has been under pressure because of recession fears.

Gold spot price

The spot price of gold is at $855.80 per ounce, down $26.10 overnight in New York.

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