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Irish services sector expands at highest rate in five years as euro zone optimism grows

IRELAND’S services sector is expanding at levels last seen five years ago while the euro zone’s economic slump was a little less pronounced in November than previously thought, business surveys showed today.

Exchequer returns to be published today before the Budget

The Exchequer returns for last month will be published this afternoon and will confirm the state of the economy on the eve of Budget Day.

Richard Bruton makes it cheaper for small firms to restructure debts

Measures to make it cheaper and easier for small private companies to restructure their debts through the courts have been revealed.

Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton said viable businesses will be able to apply directly to the Circuit Court to have an examiner appointed.

Rulebreaker Ulster Bank fined €1.96m over Central Bank breach

Third largest penalty in history imposed over capital shortfall. Ulster Bank has been hit with the third biggest fine ever imposed on an Irish bank.

The bank was ordered to pay €1.96m for breaches of Central Bank rules, including a €313m shortfall in its capital in 2011.

Bank of Ireland set for return to bonds market

Bank of Ireland is set to become the first bailed-out bank to return to the bond markets, after saying it plans to raise funds secured on some of its pool of Irish mortgages.

Bank of Ireland is set to become the first bailed-out bank to return to the bond markets, after saying it plans to raise funds secured on some of its pool of Irish mortgages. The Irish Independent says …

Government to focus on small firms in EU presidency role

TheGovernment will put growth and competitiveness “at the top of the agenda” when it takes over the EU presidency, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said yesterday.

Speaking at an EU conference for small and medium enterprises in Dublin, Mr Bruton said the union would rely on small firms to drive future growth.

Markets sceptical over ‘cumbersome’ bailout fund

European Central Bank (ECB) governing council member Ewald Nowotny has admitted markets are sceptical about the new European rescue fund, because of cumbersome decision-making.

Austria’s Nowotny said he sees scepticism about how quickly funds from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) can be deployed when they are needed.

IBEC cuts economic outlook on poor European trading conditions

IBEC has said it sees overall economic output or GDP of just 0.8% this year, down from its previous forecast of 1%.

But that is still a slightly better outturn than the one that is factored into the Department of Finance numbers of 0.7%.

Trade surplus rose by €1 billion to record high of €4.9 billion

The figures were stronger than expected and one economist described them as ”stunning”. The CSO data, which are preliminary figures, show an increase in exports of €1.258 billion (16%) in August compared with July. Seasonally adjusted imports increased by €215m (5%), resulting in an increase of €1.043 billion in the seasonally adjusted trade surplus.

Lack of bank competition ‘concern’

The Credit Review Office warned over the declining number of banks lending to small businesses.

The declining number of banks making loans to small businesses in Ireland is of increasing concern because of the need to ensure competition and protect customer service, the credit reviewer said.

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