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EU debt levels up in 2018 but debt-to-GDP ratio down

EU debt levels up in 2018 but debt-to-GDP ratio down

Government debt levels rose in the European Union last year, according to Eurostat, but economic expansion in the region pushed the overall debt-to-GDP ratio down.

The countries that use the euro had a combined debt of €9.86 trillion in 2018, up €99 billion (1%) year-on-year. Meanwhile, in the wider European Union, debt levels rose €135.5 billion (1.1%) to €12.7 trillion.

Less than half of all employees have a private pension – CSO

Less than half of all employees have a private pension – CSO

Less than half of all employees in Ireland were saving towards a pension last year, according to the Central Statistics Office.

Its survey of pension coverage in the third quarter of 2018 found that 47.1% of all people in employment were contributing towards a private pension.

That is up 0.4 percentage points on the same period of 2015.

Housing completions up by over a fifth in first three months

Housing completions up by over a fifth in first three months

Housing completions were up by over a fifth in the first three months of 2019, according to Goodbody’s Housebuilding Tracker.

It uses Building Energy Regulation (BER) data to compile its figures.

The official data tracks electricity connection figures.

According to Goodbody’s figures, 4,255 residential units were completed in the first quarter, an increase of 22% over the same period …

Government’s €300m Brexit funding scheme for SMEs opens

Government’s €300m Brexit funding scheme for SMEs opens

Small and medium sized businesses here, as well as farmers, can now apply for loans under the Government’s Future Loan Scheme.

The initiative aims to support strategic long-term investment in the post-Brexit environment where financing options may be restricted.

Money borrowed can be use for a variety of reasons, including investing in assets to increase productivity, setting up new offices, investing in …

Home improvements and energy upgrades drive €2.47 billion spend

Home improvements and energy upgrades drive €2.47 billion spend

Irish homeowners have spent a total of €2.471 billion through the Home Renovation Incentive since its launch in 2013.

The scheme, which concluded at the end of last year, facilitated homeowners in carrying out nearly 150,000 home improvement projects over the last four years.

The projects had an average spend of €16,774 per project.

The Construction Industry Federation said …

Euro zone businesses started second quarter with tepid growth – PMI

Euro zone businesses started second quarter with tepid growth – PMI

Euro zone businesses started the second quarter on the back foot, with growth unexpectedly slowing again as demand barely rose despite more modest price rises, surveys showed today.

The data comes a week after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi raised the prospect of more support for the struggling euro zone economy if its slowdown persists.

IHS …

Ibec expects employment growth to slow down in 2019

Ibec expects employment growth to slow down in 2019

The organisation representing employers here has warned the biggest challenge facing business is the ongoing capacity constraints in the labour market.

Ibec says the shortages will cause growth in employment to slow this year as the economy approaches full employment and firms struggle to fill vacancies.

In its first quarterly Economic Outlook of 2019, Ibec says the Irish economy is currently …

Central Bank seeks extra power to force banks to further increase their capital

Central Bank seeks extra power to force banks to further increase their capital

The Governor of the Central Bank has written to the Minister for Finance asking him to put in place measures that would enable the regulator to force banks to hold more capital if systemic risks increase.

Philip Lane said the extra capital required by the Systemic Risk Buffer (SyRB) would help improve the loss-absorbing capacity of the …

Booming economy sees incomes soar to record levels

Booming economy sees incomes soar to record levels

Household income is at a record high and continuing to grow sharply, underpinned by jobs and investment, according to a new report.

In contrast to the Celtic Tiger, when notional wealth was linked in many cases to debt-funded property assets, rising incomes are underpinned by what are described as “exceptional levels” of business investment and related employment effects, in the new research …

Controversial copyright reforms get backing of EU countries

Controversial copyright reforms get backing of EU countries

European Union countries have adopted copyright reforms championed by news publishers and the media business, but opposed by US tech giants like Google.

EU countries adopted the reforms that were agreed last month by the European Parliament, they said in a statement.

“The new rules ensure adequate protection for authors and artists, while opening up new possibilities for accessing and sharing copyright-protected …

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