Economy

Civil partnership tax bill published

Michael Noonan today published a finance bill to allow same sex couples have the same tax rights as married couples. The Minister for Finance needed to change existing tax legislation to bring it in line wit the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010. Civil partners will now receive the same tax treatment as married couples in respect of income tax, stamp duty, capital acquisitions tax, capital gains tax and VAT. In addition, the bill allows for the taxation consequences of the redress scheme for opposite-sex and same-sex cohabiting couples provided for in the 2010 Act. Noonan gave credit to the previous government for its commitment…

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Noonan defends levy on pension funds

A levy of 0.6pc imposed on pension funds to pay for some of the measures announced in yesterday’s Jobs Initiative has produced an uncalled for “quasi-hysterical” reaction, according to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan. The effect the levy will have on pension funds has been “exaggerated” by the pensions industry, Noonan told reporters at a press conference following the Dáil announcement of the much-anticipated Jobs Initiative. He said the Government were “pulling back a very small proportion” of major tax reliefs that the funds have enjoyed in previous years. It will take very little from the value of the funds, he said. He criticised the “quasi-hysterical” reaction, pointing out that…

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Silver Recovers While Gold Prices Steady

The price of spot gold steadied today after hitting a record US$1,575.79 an ounce yesterday, while silver recovered from its biggest drop in 29 months. The death of al Qaeda’s leader Osama Bin Laden accelerated spot gold’s drop to $1,540.39 from a record high of $1,575.79 on Monday. Later Tuesday, spot gold was flat at $1,543.89 an ounce. Gold’s bull run has continued as investors look for a safe haven for their money amid worries about the weak US dollar, the ongoing eurozone debt crisis and global inflation. It lost some appeal following the death of Bin Laden but this concern will be short-lived, according to analysts. Silver rose by…

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Bank Shares Up and Deposits Steady – Noonan

Finance minister Michael Noonan said today that the government has succeeded in restoring confidence to Ireland’s banking system. He noted that Bank of Ireland shares had advanced for three days in-a-row and are currently up about 45pc on last week’s trading price. AIB has seen significant increases in its shares, as well, said Noonan. The minister of finance also said that the amount of deposits being withdrawn from the two “pillar banks” has been reduced substantially since Thursday’s announcements. Noonan told the Dáil that Irish 10-year-bond rates peaked to 10.32pc on March 31 but have since fallen back to below 10pc. He noted the positive response from various credit rating agencies and…

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Honohan welcomes foreign owners for Irish banks

Governor of the Central Bank Patrick Honohan has once again said he “looks forward” to welcoming foreign owners for Irish banks. Explaining his remarks, he said it is evident that the involvement of new foreign owners could put the banking system on a “firm footing”. He said they can bring capital, risk control and other management skills. Speaking at the Institute of International and European Affairs, Honohan said that the Irish banks need to be downsized, therefore reducing risks and helping the Irish economy demonstrate the tail risk is lower than investors currently believe. “An effective bank restructuring requires that the fortunes of the banks and the budget be convincingly…

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Temperatures reach record lows of -16degrees

Met Éireann said that record low temperatures were seen in parts of the country last night, with some areas seeing temperatures as low as -16degrees. Sub-zero temperatures are expected to last for a few more days with a thaw not expected until Christmas Eve. Forecaster Evelyn Cusack said that there will be no thaw until Christmas Day, when rain and southerly winds are more likely. The weather continues to cause chaos for travellers. The AA has issued road warnings across the country. Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann have confirmed that most services are running as normal but there are some curtailments. Travellers are advised to check their websites – www.dublinbus.ie and…

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Exports continue to drive growth – Quarterly National Accounts

Goods and services exports continue to drive growth

Ireland’s quarterly national accounts show that both GDP and GNP rose compared with the previous quarter. Seasonally-adjusted GDP and GNP grew 0.5pc and 1.1pc respectively. This is the first seasonally-adjusted increase in both since 2007, according to the Central Statistics Office. At an annual rate, GDP increased by 2pc, while GNP was up by 4.5pc. However, compared with the 2009 third quarter, GDP decreased by 0.5pc, while GNP fell by 1.6pc. Commenting, Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan said this year-on-year growth will turn positive during the final quarter or early in the new year. He attributed the growth in the economy to the “very strong” performance of the export sector.…

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ECB’s Trichet confident of euro zone stability

European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet told MEPs yesterday that he did not doubt the stability of the euro zone. Asked if he feared a domino effect in light of the debt crisis, he said that this would not happen, adding that Ireland and Greece were both solvent and therefore debt restructuring was not an issue. Trichet was also adamant that domestic democratic processes should not be interfered with, even in the event of a bailout. Asked by Belgian MEP Dirk-Jan Eppink if there is a link between political uncertainty and the financial markets, Trichet refused to draw any conclusions, stating again that democratic processes should be respected. At the…

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EC forecasts Irish growth at just 0.9pc

The European Commission has said the Irish economy will grow by just 0.9pc next year. According to its autumn economic forecast, the EC believes the Irish economy will not reach the 1.75pc rate predicted by the Irish Government in its four year plan. The Commission also said the Government’s 2012 growth projection of 3.25pc is too optimistic. It says 2012 growth is more likely to be 1.9pc. Overall, the EC said European growth will experience soft growth next year and a stronger rebound in 2012. It said growth in 2011 will hit 1.75pc and 2pc in 2012. The recovery is “making progress,” though the “shock of the global crisis still…

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Europe denies there are Portugal bailout plans

European Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso has denied reports that euro area member states are putting pressure on Portugal to ask for external financial aid. Speaking in Paris today, Barroso said there was no talk of a Portugal bailout and no application had been made. “I can tell you that it’s absolutely false, completely false,” commenting on a report in the Financial Times Deutschland today. The FT Deutschland said some euro area states want Portugal to follow Ireland’s lead and apply for external aid to ensure no further contagion is experienced. “If Portugal were to use the fund, it would be good for Spain, because the country is heavily exposed to…

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