ECB expected to leave euro zone interest rates at record low

Europe’s stalled economy is not expected to get more help today from the European Central Bank.

The ECB is expected to hold off cutting interest rates as it waits for financial markets to heal so that its already low benchmark rates get through to businesses and consumers.

Biggest increase in exports in six years as service sector expands

Activity in Ireland’s services sector grew for a fifth successive month in December on the back of the biggest surge in new export orders since September 2006.

The latest NCB Stockbrokers purchasing managers’ index showed new orders and new export business increased sharply at the end of last year, pointing to continued momentum in the sector. While the NCB headline index of activity fell slightly to 55.8 in December from …

Loans to eurozone firms down again

Loans to companies in the euro zone extended their fall in November, underlining the bloc’s economic weakness and increasing pressure on the European Central Bank to cut interest rates further.

On the year, loans to the private sector fell by 0.8 percent in November – the same drop seen a month earlier. A breakdown of figures released by the ECB today showed a drop in consumer credit and loans to …

Manufacturing sector sees weakest growth since August

Activity in the country’s manufacturing sector grew for the tenth month in a row in December. The NCB Manufacturing Purchasing Managers index stood at 51.4 last month.

This was down from November’s reading of 52.4 but still above the key level which signifies expansion.

Business activity gets stronger but firms cautious about future

Irish business activity strengthened over the final months of the year but firms remain cautious about what’s coming down the road, a survey has found.

The winter KBC Bank Ireland/Chartered Accountants Ireland Business Sentiment study found that businesses were hesitant to ramp up spending and to take on new staff next year.

EU gives ECB additional powers to supervise banks

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will travel to Brussels for a crucial summit of EU leaders focused on reforming Europe’s banks and protecting the single currency.

A significant first step towards what is called a eurozone banking union was agreed last night by EU finance ministers, after 14 hours of talks.

New Property Tax Bill gives Revenue more powers

The Government has published the Finance (Local Property Tax) Bill 2012, to give effect to the property tax announced in the budget.

The new Bill is expected to be brought through the Dáil towards the end of next week.

The Bill establishes who is liable to pay the new tax and how much they will pay. It also gives new powers to the Revenue Commissioners to collect it.

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.