US Fed members unanimously reject negative rates – minutes

US central bankers last month dismissed the idea of taking interest rates into negative territory, something President Donald Trump has called for many times, according to meeting minutes released last night. 

Evidence for the benefits of negative interest rates – lenders must pay borrowers rather than the other way around – has proven “mixed” in countries where it has been tried, according to members of the Fed’s rate-setting Federal Open …

New lending rules for credit unions from January

The Central Bank has said it will allow credit unions undertake increased longer term lending, including home mortgage and business lending.

From January next year, new regulations will remove the existing lending maturity limits for credit unions which cap the percentage of their lending for periods of greater than five and ten years. 

These maturity limits will be replaced by new concentration limits, on a tiered basis, for home mortgage …

Christmas still ‘make or break’ for many retailers

The average retailer still relies on the six weeks around Christmas for up to 30% of its annual trade, according to the Ibec group, Retail Ireland.

The sector has benefitted from rising wages and an increase in disposable income across the economy in recent years.

However, footfall on the streets of towns and cities across the country has been falling with the growing popularity of online shopping.

“In terms of …

European car sales up 8.6% in Oct, driven by VW rebound – ACEA

Passenger car registrations in Europe rose 8.6% in October, to their highest level since 2009, driven by robust demand in Germany and France.

The figures were also boosted by a rebound in demand for Volkswagen cars, which posted a 29% gain.

Registrations rose to 1.214 million cars in the countries of the European Union and the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA), statistics published by the European Auto industry association ACEA …

More time spent on social media than calls – ComReg

New research shows that consumers here are using our phones less and less for phone calls and more for messaging and social media. 

The research from communications regulator ComReg also finds that almost everyone in the country now has a phone – with Samsung and Apple the most popular brands. 

Consumers are spending about a half an hour a day making regular calls, down slightly on the same survey conducted …

ECB has not reached limits of monetary policy – Lane

The European Central Bank has not reached the limit of what it can do on monetary policy, its chief economist Philip Lane has said.

Despite unprecedented monetary easing, Professor Lane said the ECB still had further tools in its toolbox if needed, but added that they would depend on particular circumstances. 

“Let me emphasise that we don’t think we’re at a limit as of yet,” chief economist Philip Lane, the …

Euro zone inflation confirmed as slowing to 0.7% in October

Euro zone’s headline inflation slowed in October, the European Union statistics office said today as it confirmed its earlier estimate, with energy prices falling markedly. 

Eurostat also said the 19-country bloc posted in September a larger surplus in its trade with the rest of world, as exports grew more than imports. 

Inflation was confirmed at 0.7% on the year, down from 0.8% in September, in line with preliminary estimates Eurostat …

EU Commission gives green light to broadband plan

The European Commission has approved the Government’s National Broadband Plan, saying it complies with EU state aid rules.

The decision means one of the final hurdles preventing the State from signing the contract with the preferred bidder, National Broadband Ireland, has been overcome.

The Commission said the €2.6bn of public support will result in high-speed broadband services being brought to consumers and businesses in areas with insufficient connectivity in Ireland.

WTO members warn on post-Brexit market access

World Trade Organization members have demanded compromises from the EU and Britain to ensure foreign businesses do not lose market access in post-Brexit trade.  

At a meeting of the WTO’s Goods Council, 15 countries – including the US, India, Australia and Canada – raised concern over the so-called Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs) that will be in place after Brexit. 

Under WTO rules, nations use TRQs to set a threshold …

Two thirds of SMEs do not have digital presence

A survey by the IE Domain Registry, which manages the dot-IE web address, h found that two thirds of SMEs do not have a digital presence.

This means that much of the ever increasing amount of money spent online is going to multinationals like Amazon and ASOS.

David Curtin, CEO of the IE Domain Registry, said that as Irish consumers demand is not being satisfied by Irish companies, they are …