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  • Age of Anger and Delusion: Brexit, Trump and Sanders

    There is a common thread that links the leaders of the Brexit campaign — the UK referendum in June on Britain leaving the European Union — and the insurgent campaigns of Donald Trump and Senator Bernie Sanders for the presidency in the United States: they are tapping public anger with the status quo but none of them have set out in credible detail how they would implement their goals after victory.

  • Number of housing units for sale across Ireland at 9-year low

    Daft.ie says in its latest report that the total number of properties for sale at any one time across Ireland continues to fall from 2015 and in the first quarter of 2016 was a 9-year low.

  • Germany’s Schäuble seeking higher interest rates for savers

    Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s powerful finance minister, last Friday called for the ECB to raise interest rates but the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in its latest survey of Germany, said the government had failed to take advantage of cheap borrowing costs to boost investment that is essential to longer-term economic growth.

  • Panama Papers: Irish media’s past timidity on tax avoidance/ evasion

    Panama Papers & Ireland: The unfair tax system became a controversial issue in the mid 1970s in Ireland and it took almost a quarter of a century for the Irish Revenue to be entitled to declare a partial victory on massive personal tax evasion and …

  • When County Dublin’s land prices rocketed 530% in 9 years

    After four decades of independence and grim economic torpor, a new Irish economic policy coupled with strong growth across Europe and in the US (8.5% real growth in 1965), brought delayed good fortune to Ireland’s economy and owners of serviced land in…

  • Delaware’s mega tax haven: Americans don’t need Panama

    The US state of Delaware, calls itself the First State, and it is also the world’s biggest tax haven which may explain why the revelations this week triggered by a massive leak of over 11m documents from a law firm in Panama, facilitating the hiding of…

  • US tax inversion move may scuttle Pfizer’s plan to become Irish

    The US Treasury Department on Monday made its third attempt in recent years to curb US companies from moving their headquarters/ tax domicile to foreign countries to save tax. The move may scuttle the $160 billion deal between Pfizer Inc., the US drugs…

  • Panama Tax Haven Leak: Leaders of Russia, Iceland among suspects

    More than 11m documents from the files of Panama law firm Mossback Fonseca, the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, reveal the details of hundreds of thousands of clients using tax havens, including close associates of Vladimir Putin, president o…

  • Global manufacturing subdued, US adds 14m jobs in 73 months

    The size of the US workforce rose 396,000 in March while 215,000 jobs were added with manufacturing losing 29,000. The private sector has now added 14.4m jobs over 73 straight months of job growth, the longest streak on record, and wage growth has acce…

  • Google profits from tax avoidance, pays CEO $209m in 2015/16

    Google which is one of the big beneficiaries of the Double Irish tax dodge last year agreed to grant a pay package worth $100.5m, to Sundar Pichai, a native of India, even before he became head of the search engine unit of the new holding company Alpha…

  • Ireland’s national income per head at 56% of Great Britain’s in 1922

    The Government of Ireland Act which was passed by the British Parliament in 1920 provided for devolved parliaments in Dublin and Belfast, with the latter in control of 6 counties in the north-east of the island to be known as Northern Ireland. The Irish Free State was established in 1922 with jurisdiction over the remaining 26 counties and faced challenging economic conditions with national income per head at 56% of Great Britain’s — 35 years later the ratio was at 49%.

  • Germany says no new borrowing by 2020, interest bill plunges

    The German government on Wednesday approved a draft budget for 2017 to 2020 and despite the arrival of over 1m refugees and migrants last year, budget surpluses are forecast for every year while €31bn in higher spending is provided for immigration services, security and infrastructure without having to borrow more money in the 3 years to 2020.

  • Brexit would trigger prolonged uncertainty, EU import tariffs

    A decision for the UK to exit the European Union (‘Brexit’) would result in prolonged uncertainty and would be credit negative for UK-based companies such as the car, manufacturing, food and beverage, and service sectors, Moody’s Investors Service said…

  • High-tech sectors not big job creators in Europe and US

    Despite the obsession of politicians and journalists with high-tech sectors, they are not big job creators in economies. A multiplier is evident where there is a concentration and while Uber, the taxi service termed a high-tech “unicorn,” had a valuati…

  • Apple, Google’s economy with truth on tax at European Parliament

    In 1986 Sir Robert Armstrong, UK Cabinet Secretary, used a euphemism for lying that had its origin in 1796 — “economical with the truth” — during a court case in Australia on the British government’s request for a ban on a book by a former spy. Representatives of Apple and Google, at a meeting of a tax committee of the European Parliament in Brussels Tuesday, made emphatic statements about paying taxes but they were short of the full truth.

  • Trump laments Pfizer’s move to Ireland; Warns Apple on China

    Donald Trump, the Republican Party frontrunner for the nomination for the US presidency, on Tuesday night in a victory speech, criticised the planned move by Pfizer, the US drugs giant to become an Irish company, and he also promised that if he becomes…

  • London 6th most expensive city, Dublin at 24 and Brussels at 38

    Singapore is the world’s most expensive city for expatriates and travellers for the third year running. The Asian city island state tops Zurich and Hong Kong in the latest rankings by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which surveys 400 individual prices across 160 products and services, and then compares all places with New York — the base city. London is the 6th most expensive city, Dublin is at 24 and Brussels, the capital of the European Union is at 38.

  • US FDI stock in Ireland doubled since 2007, 11,000 jobs added

    US data show that the value of the outstanding stock of US FDI (foreign direct investment) more than doubled in the period 2007-2014 but Irish data show that only 11,000 jobs were added in American-owned firms in the period 2007-2015.

  • Superlative 2015 Irish growth data massively distorted by tax moves

    Irish gross domestic product grew by a stunning 9.2% year-on-year in the final quarter of last year, outranking India at 7.3% and China at 6.8%. GDP was 7.8% higher compared to 5.2% growth in 2014 while GNP (gross national product) was up 5.7%. The GDP…

  • US Tax Reform Failure- Warns EU with never-used 82-year-old law

    It is almost 30 years since President Ronald Reagan signed a major US tax reform bill into law and since the late 1990s in particular, the corporate tax system has been massively abused by large American multinational firms. From early 2009, President …

  • Global economy data remains poor amidst some optimism

    On Tuesday leading indicators published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) showed that based on January data, economic activity continued to point to continuing slowdowns in the US, the UK, Canada and Russia, with addit…

  • Women earned on average 16% less than men in the EU in 2014

    Women earned on average 16% less than men in the EU in 2014. Estonia had the highest gap at 28%, Germany was third highest at 22% while there was no data for Ireland and Greece.

  • US, Singapore top destinations for Chinese investment in 2015

    The US and Singapore are once again the most attractive destinations for Chinese outbound investment. This is the key finding of the 2015 China Going Global Index (GGI), published this year by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

  • Switzerland, Netherlands, Nordics lead 2015 patents to population

    The European Patent Office reported in its annual report published last week that the inventiveness of Europe’s leading economies is reflected in the ratio of European patent applications filed to population and Switzerland again topped the ranking in …

  • Euro Area retail sales rise; Composite PMI at 13-month low

    Euro Area retail sales rose in January according to Eurostat today but composite PMI (purchasing managers’ index) survey data for February comprising activity in both manufacturing and services, fell to a 13-month low while French data fell below the n…

  • Irish pension fund returns negative in 2016 and past 12 months

    The volatility in global markets in the first two months of 2016 has resulted in negative returns for Irish pensions and the performance over the past 12 months was also in the red.

  • Exports not a significant jobs engine for Irish economy

    Later this month complete export data for 2015 will be released and after a total vale of €215bn in 2014, the value in 2015 may have been up to €250bn with indigenous exports including tourism and transport accounting for less than €30bn. While the total export value of €158bn in 2007 is not directly comparable with more recent data because of a change in methodology, still the increase would be enough to have official spinners and their yarn merchants salivating on superlatives. However, not only should last Friday’s election washout for the governing parties lead to a questioning of the relentless public propaganda using distorted data but there is also a reality that exports are not a significant jobs engine for the Irish economy.

  • Irish Election 2016: A comeback for Lazarus and the Hidden Ireland!

    The conventional wisdom that at least Fine Gael, the senior party in the outgoing governing coalition government, would reap the benefit of the Irish economic recovery in last Friday’s general election, has been upended. As the count proceeds, Fianna Fáil, the architect of the property-fuelled boom and bust, has almost matched the Fine Gael vote, and after its near death experience in the 2011 general election, the once long-dominant political party can claim to have made one of the political comebacks that for political journalists at least merits comparison with Lazarus, the biblical character.

  • Brexit: UK economy in much better health since 1973

    Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary for long took pleasure in tweaking the tails of the fat cats of the establishment but as some British business leaders this week shied away from taking a public stance on Brexit — the shorthand that combines the words Britain and exit from the European Union, which British voters will decide on via a referendum on 23 June, 2016 — O’Leary made a strong call for an anti-Brexit vote.

  • France is seeking €1.6 billion in back taxes from Google

    France is seeking €1.6bn in back taxes from Google, the US Internet search giant, according to a source at the finance ministry in Paris, reported by Reuters on Wednesday. In London also on Wednesday, the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said in a report that a settlement by Google with the HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) that was announced last month “seems disproportionately small when compared with the size of Google’s business in the UK, reinforcing our concerns that the rules governing where corporation tax is paid by multinational companies do not produce a fair outcome.”

  • Only 5,000 jobs added in Irish economy in fourth quarter of 2015

    Jobs growth in the Irish economy slowed sharply in the fourth quarter of 2015 with just under 5,000 jobs added in the period. The CSO reported today that there was an annual increase in employment of 2.3% or 44,100 in the year to the fourth quarter of 2015, bringing total employment to 1,983,000. On a seasonally adjusted basis, employment increased by 4,700 (+0.2%) over the previous quarter. This follows on from a seasonally adjusted increase in employment of 9,600 (+0.5%) in Q3 2015.

  • Global sea levels rose faster in 20th century in 2,800 years

    Global sea levels rose faster in the 20th century than in any of the other 27 in 2,800 years, according to a Rutgers University-led study published Monday in the United States. Moreover, without global warming, global sea levels would have risen by les…

  • German SMEs protest against EU-US TTIP trade/ investments talks

    Resumption of trade and investment talks between the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) prompted a protest against the planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement with representatives of German SMEs (small and me…

  • Enda Kenny angry with Ireland’s parish-pump whingers & dissenters

    Enda Kenny, taoiseach, at the weekend speaking in Castlebar, his hometown in Western Ireland, made a gaffe by describing locals who don’t share his sunny optimism about the Irish economy as “All-Ireland champion whingers.” After 40 years in national po…

  • Calls for helicopter money as central banks exhaust money printing

    This week Ray Dalio, the founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, which has some $155bn in funds under management, said that current unconventional efforts to raise economic growth through bond buying in the markets, which is called quantitative easing or more commonly money printing, have lost their potency and central banks may have to resort to radical measures such as “helicopter money.” On Thursday the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) — a think tank for 34 mainly developed country governments — said governments must act “urgently” and “collectively” to raise spending in advanced economies as it cut its growth forecasts against a backdrop falling trade and market turmoil. The OECD reduced growth estimates for every member of the G7 group of leading industrial nations — the US, Japan, Germany, France, UK, and Canada.

  • Irish General Election: What if Enda Kenny told the truth?

    Irish General Election: “The road to power is paved with hypocrisy and casualties. Never regret,” says the Frank Underwood character, played by Kevin Spacey in the American version of ‘House of Cards.’ On 9 March 2011, Enda Kenny set a high bar for his new government on honesty but high principle soon gave way to what has become conventional in modern times: pervasive spin — a convenient euphemism for manipulation and lies.

  • Sun sets on decades of high growth in US, Europe & Asia

    In recent days we have had data which show weak late 2015 growth or shrinkage in the Euro Area and Japan, while last month it was reported that the US economy grew at an annualised rate of 0.7% in the final three months of the 2015. Coupled with the ec…

  • Returning Irish needed to fill workforce’s big skills gap

    For a second time in a quarter century returning skilled Irish emigrants are seen as essential to fill a skills gaps in the workforce — again it’s easier than addressing the enduring skills gap at home.

  • Euro Area grows 0.3% in Q4 2015 — Italy, Austria stagnate

    Seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.3% in both the Euro Area (EA19) and the EU28 during the fourth quarter of 2015, compared with the previous quarter, according to a flash estimate published Friday by Eurostat, the statistics office of the European Union.

  • Keeping Irish economic recovery going? Policy or prayer?

    “Let’s keep the recovery going” is the Fine Gael slogan of the general election but apart from hoping that prayer or luck would end the current turmoil on global markets, Fine Gael does not say how it would respond to a dip in growth in key markets bec…

  • In record year Swedish multinational closes Irish pension scheme

    A Swedish multinational closed its Irish pension scheme in 2012 — a record year for group profits — and the opportunistic move in Ireland was not because of a collapse in investment values after the bubble burst but because during the boom years the Irish subsidiary delivered bumper dividends to Stockholm while its pension scheme was underfunded.

  • Germany’s record trade surplus in 2015; US, UK, France in deficit

    On Tuesday Germany announced a new record trade surplus for 2015 while the US, UK and France posted another year of trade deficits. China reported a surplus last month and Japan reported its fifth straight deficit despite plunging oil prices.

  • Dublin properties for rent plunge to low of 1,400 in 2016

    Irish house rents rose nationwide by an average of 9.0% during 2015, according to the latest quarterly Rental Report by Daft.ie. This compares to an increase of 10.7% in 2014 and 6.7% in 2013. The national average rent between October and December was €979, compared to €898 a year previously. Supply of properties for rent remains very low with just 1,400 rental homes on the market this month.

  • Irish General Election: Media needs to challenge status quo

    The 2011 Irish General Election was inevitably about the short-term following the bursting of the economic bubble. This time, Enda Kenny, taoiseach, has ensured that the 2016 election is a traditional short-term focus election campaign with the main arguments on taxes, bribes for voters and related budget issues, while the mainstream media also maintains a passive traditional role in being a facilitator for the politicians rather than a catalyst in forcing them to address challenges facing Ireland beyond the 2021 horizon of the 32nd Dáil Éireann.

  • Just 10 firms paid 50% of record Irish corporation tax in 2015

    Irish corporation tax receipts jumped by almost 50% in 2015 and only 10 firms accounted for about 50% of receipts in the year — a windfall for the Exchequer resulted in a rise in receipts from €4.6bn in 2014 to €6.9bn in 2015. In 2014 Finfacts estimated that about 40 American firms accounted for two-thirds of Ireland’s headline exports in 2013.

  • 406,000 dole claimants in 2016, broad Irish jobless rate at 18%

    The seasonally-adjusted total on the Irish Live Register and in public activation jobs schemes was at 405,509 in the first month of 2016 according to the CSO today. The broad jobless rate was 18% compared with the narrow rate of 8.6% based on the Inter…

  • Irish pension funds returns fell about 4% in January 2016

    A slide in share prices in January 2016 resulted in a monthly fall of about 4% in the returns of Irish pensions funds.

  • US giant firms and Europe’s new response to tax fraud

    Just over 5 years ago citizen activism against corporate tax evasion/ avoidance began when mainly women in a group called UK Uncut began occupying the high profile London retail stores of the Arcadia group such as Topshop, BHS, Burton, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins, controlled by Sir Philip Green, one of Britain’s richest men, who had given a £1.2bn tax-free dividend to his wife — a resident of Monaco. Last week, Rupert Murdoch, another billionaire, said strong new laws were required to prevent small local businesses from being ruined by global tech companies paying “token” taxes.

  • Ireland second-highest OECD health spending, poorest outcomes

    Ireland has the second-highest health spending ratio in OECD area which comprises of 34 mainly developed countries but it has some of the worst health outcomes among advanced countries.

  • Irish Banking Inquiry 2016: Delayed wisdom, glacial change

    Irish Banking Inquiry 2016: The publication of a parliamentary report on the banking crash 7 years and 4 months following the decision of Ireland’s government on 30 September 2008 to provide a state guarantee for both the debts of domestic banks and de…

  • Global House Prices: Dublin prices seriously unaffordable

    An annual survey of house prices in several global locations has rated Dublin prices as seriously unaffordable while Limerick has the most affordable housing costs of all markets surveyed.

  • 60% of Irish private workers have no jobs pension

    60% of Irish private workers have no jobs pension while there is a 100% coverage and special pension provisions for politicians, and 100% coverage for public sector workers. Last year pension payments rose for former politicians and it’s not surprising…

  • Tax: Irish Government angry at unfair EU treatment of Apple

    Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, visited the European Commission’s offices in Brussels Thursday to lobby for in effect an amnesty in the investigation of the electronics giant’s special or unusual tax arrangements using Irish companies to avoid/ evade massive am…

  • Irish media sustains distorting politics of jobs spin

    Fine Gael this week effectively acknowledged that Enda Kenny, taoiseach, lied in January 2015 when he reported a false total for recession job losses (see below). On Wednesday the Government’s jobs publicity machine generated 30 reports in the Irish media on announcements of up to 1,500 jobs that maybe created in 5 years (no company will guarantee what payroll it would have in 5 years) while also Wednesday in the Dáil, two Opposition spokespersons put questions to Richard Bruton, jobs and enterprise minister, on jobs targets and the politics of jobs spin. The proceedings in which Bruton trashed the credibility of Department of Finance economists, generated 1 media report (same report in 2 outlets).

  • Global unemployment set to rise 4.8m in 2016/ 2017 as growth dips

    Global unemployment is forecast to rise 4.8m in 2016/ 2017 despite high total unemployment of 197.1m in 2015, which was 27m higher than the pre-crisis level of 2007. Continuing high rates of unemployment worldwide and chronic vulnerable employment in m…

  • France’s Hollande to add 500,000 fake jobs to cut jobless rate

    On Monday François Hollande, French president, proclaimed an economic and social emergency (‘un état d’urgence économique et social’) and the creation of 500,000 fake jobs is the main item of a number of measures that he announced to business and trade union leaders. With a presidential election due in 15 months, Hollande has said in the past that he would not seek reelection if unemployment is higher than when he took office in May 2012 — the harmonised jobless rate was at 9.7% in Q2 2012 and last November it was at 10.1%.

  • China’s 2015 official growth rate lowest in 25 years

    China has announced its official growth rate for 2015 which is the lowest in a quarter century but some economic commentators suggest that the real rate was lower.

  • Shrinking US workforce triggers decline in business startups

    Young US firms up to five years old account for most new job creation in the economy but the rate of formation of employer startups (firms that employ staff other than the founders) has both fallen sharply in recent decades while the number of employee…

  • Communist China has very high level of income inequality

    Communist China has one of the world’s highest levels of income inequality, with the richest 1% of households owning a third of the country’s wealth, a study produced by Peking University has found.

  • Germany full-employment, best budget surplus in 15 years

    Germany’s finance ministry this week reported a 2015 budget surplus that is double the original target and the result of record tax revenues and one-off effects. Wolfgang Schäuble, finance minister, said that he would allocate the surplus of €12bn to refugee costs — the surplus gross domestic product ratio was 0.5%.

  • Irish food/ drinks exports in 2015 – far below potential

    Another Irish public agency had a good news story to tell on Wednesday on performance in 2015 with many superlatives deployed to please ministers. Media headlines have noted that Irish food and drinks exports rose to a record in the year and it certain…

  • China’s foreign trade surplus rises 56.7% in 2015, imports fall

    China’s foreign trade surplus widened to 元3.69tn yuan/ renminbi ($562bn) in 2015, an increase of 56.7% from a year earlier, customs data showed on Wednesday.

  • Lagarde says emerging world facing new reality on growth

    Christine Lagarde, IMF managing director, said Tuesday that after years of success, emerging and developing countries are now confronted with a new reality. Growth rates are down, and cyclical and structural forces have undermined the traditional growt…

  • Ireland not only country with dodgy unemployment data

    The US has published two monthly rates of unemployment since the mid 1990s and in Europe Jacques Freyssinet (b.1937), the prominent French labour economist, has succeeded in having what he calls “halo du chômage” or unemployment halo — unemployed people seeking work who are not included in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) definition of unemployed — included in official data. Official training programmes also give an opportunity to massage the data and in Ireland Enda Kenny, taoiseach, has announced a bogus full-employment target.

  • War and Peace: Tolstoy’s rejection of the ‘Great Man’ theory

    Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910: Lev Nikolayevich, Graf [count] Tolstoy, in Russian], one of the world’s greatest novelists, is currently getting general attention because of the BBC’s adaptation of his epic and monumental novel War and Peace, which was written in 1865–1869. It is set in the period from 1805 to 1820 and describes the war between Russia and France through 1812. The book also contains an analysis of leadership that has resonance today, and Tolstoy rejects the notion that great men were instrumental in achieving success or failure in history.

  • Irish standard of living below EU28, Euro Area and Italian averages

    The Irish standard of living per capita is below the averages for the European Union (EU28), the Euro Area (EA19), and struggling Italy, according to data published in December 2015 by Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office.

  • US adds 292,000 jobs in December 2015, Broad jobless rate at 10%

    US nonfarm payroll employment increased by 292,000 in December, and the unemployment rate held at 5.0%. Job growth occurred in several industries, led by professional and business services, construction, health care, and food services and drinking plac…

  • Irish dole claims end 2015 at 410,000, Broad jobless rate at 19%

    The number of Irish unemployment benefit claims at the end of 2015 amounted to 410,000 comprising 329,000 on the Live Register and 81,000 in publicly funded activation schemes, according to CSO data published Thursday. The broad jobless rate based on a…

  • Firms in Japan, US, France account for 85% of Top 100 innovators

    Firms in Japan, US and France account for 85% of the Top 100 innovators in the global corporate world according to Thomson Reuters. The selection is based on an analysis of overall patent volume, patent-grant success rates, global reach and invention i…

  • UK Economy: Osborne warns of global risks and complacency

    UK Economy: George Osborne, UK chancellor, is expected to warn Thursday of a “dangerous cocktail” of global threats faces the British economy this year. He also will warn that complacency about the economy is starting to take hold.

  • World Bank sees small rise in 2016 growth- BRICS pose risk

    The World Bank in a report published in Washington DC on Wednesday, warns that a simultaneous slowdown in the leading emerging economies, would have a serious impact on global growth prospects. Bigger contractions than expected in Brazil and Russia and…

  • Average annual returns on Irish pension funds at 10% in 2015

    December was a month of falling share prices but in 2015 average annual returns on Irish pension funds were up to 10%.  The average managed fund return has been a very strong 13.8% per annum over the past three years. The five-year average return is a healthy 10.3% per annum. Irish group pension managed fund returns over the past ten years have been 4.7% per annum on average.

  • Irish export firms add 10,000 jobs – exporting jobs below 2008

    Irish-owned exporting firms added a net 10,169 jobs in 2015 according to a survey that was carried out last October. However, jobs in exporting firms (including foreign-owned), tourism and transport, in September were below the level in mid-2008 based …

  • Global Economy 2016: Fragility in US and China dims optimism

    Global Economy 2016: Poor manufacturing and construction data published in the US Monday which followed reports from China of a continuing shrinkage in factory activity, triggered sharp cuts in forecasts for US fourth quarter GDP (gross domestic produc…

  • Irish house prices up 3% in Dublin in 2015 – up 20%+ in other cities

    Irish house prices rose by an average of 8.5% during 2015, according to the latest House Price Report released today by Daft.ie, the property web service. This national average hides a significant difference between Dublin, where prices rose by just 2.7%, and the rest of the country, where the average increase was 13.1%. The national average asking price in the final quarter of 2015 was €204,000, compared to €188,000 a year ago and €164,000 at its lowest point in early 2013. In the other main cities prices rose at least 20%.

  • CRH, Ryanair, BOI, Kerry account for 66% of value of Irish shares

    The Irish Stock Exchange’s ISEQ index rose 30% in 2015 to close at 6,791.68 making Dublin one of Europe’s top stock market performers. However with 58 issues overall including ones of foreign origin, only four firms — CRH (its primary listing is in London), Ryanair, BOI (Bank of Ireland) and Kerry — accounted for 66% of market capitalisation.

  • China’s manufacturing shrinks, Japan, Korea expands, India skids

    Two purchasing managers’ index (PMI) surveys show that China’s manufacturing contracted again in December while manufacturing activity in Japan and South Korea expanded but India’s manufacturing shrunk.

  • Kenny’s full-employment flip-flop fools Irish media again

    Following the announcement in January 2015 by Enda Kenny, taoiseach, that a full-employment target would be brought forward to 2018, Finfacts reported that Kenny had used fiddled figures and the Department of the Taoiseach had subsequently effectively …

  • Irish environmental vandalism and Bandon flooding

    The El Niño weather pattern not only has a seasonal name (from the 18th century Peruvian fisherman observed an irregular warm current that would appear around Christmas and they called it El Niño de Navidad, the “little Christmas boy” or “Christ child”), it links my current location in Kuala Lumpur with my hometown of Bandon, Ireland (there is a Bandon in the US state of Oregon which was founded by settlers from its Irish namesake). While extreme weather has been a factor in the increased frequency of flooding in Bandon, the town is also another Irish victim of common environmental vandalism, in particular during the Celtic Tiger bubble period.

  • Finfacts 2015 highlights: Irish, Europe, Global economy + innovation

    As usual the year has been a mix of good and bad news with the climate change agreement signed by 195 nations in Paris this December, being a positive start to a rocky path to an “aggregate emission pathways consistent with holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above preindustrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C.” In Europe this year, the European Central Bank bond-buying program gave a moderate boost to the Euro Area economy in 2015 with the headline unemployment rate in October at 10.8% and the EU28 rate at 9.3% while Ireland’s rate was 8.9% (the broad rate was 19%) — the US rates in November were 5% and 9.9%.

  • Political crap says Apple’s Cook on tax dodging – is he lying?

    In a Friday advance release of a snippet of an interview to be aired in the United States by the CBS 60 Minutes program on Sunday, a rattled Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, calls claims of overseas tax dodging “political crap” and he criticises the US Congress…

  • ESRI wants Irish land tax – not overall remedy for housing crisis

    The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in its latest quarterly economic commentary has called for an Irish land tax similar to Denmark’s, to reduce the incentive for developers to hoard land as prices rise. That would be a useful measure — China charges the equivalent of 20% of land price to owners who leave urban property undeveloped for a year; after two years, the land can be confiscated! — but in itself it would only be another band-aid measure for the housing crisis in Dublin.

  • Fed raises key interest rate – rates to remain low for many years

    The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised its key short-term interest rate — the federal funds rate — for the first time since 2006, ending the near zero rates that have been in place since 2008. However interest rates may remain low compared with the pre 2008 recession times, for many years.

  • Modern slavery and people trafficking in Thailand and Ireland

    Last month Nestlé of Switzerland, the world’s biggest food company, acknowledged that its seafood sourcing in Thailand was from companies that use practices commonly termed modern-day slavery. Also in November, the Guardian newspaper exposed the use of migrant trafficking and forced labour in the Irish fishing industry — this is not an aberration in Ireland as Finfacts has in the past exposed the Irish language school racket where agents in places like India profit from the promise of a better life in Europe.

  • Germany’s fertility highest since reunification – but world’s lowest

    Germany’s fertility rate rose in 2014 to the highest level since reunification in 1990 but it remains among world’s lowest according to a report Wednesday from Destatis, the federal statistics office. Destatis said that the total fertility rate in Germany amounted to 1.47 children per woman in 2014. The fertility rate increased for the third time in a row. In 2013, it amounted to just under 1.42. Hence 56 more babies were born per 1,000 women in 2014 compared with a year earlier. The stable population birth rate is about 2.1.

  • Ireland’s defence of Apple in EU state aid tax case is a sham

    The news that the European Commission’s competition unit has requested more information on Apple Inc.’s special tax arrangements with Ireland means that the ongoing state aid investigation will not be concluded until 2016. Ireland would gain billions of euros from an adverse finding but the Irish Government says it would appeal such a ruling to the European Court of Justice — this is what Americans would call political Kabuki, evoking the classical Japanese dance-drama. However, in deference to the people of Japan, Kabuki has substance behind the elaborate moves.

  • Irish working-age disability recipients up 40% in 2006-2014

    Ireland’s disability allowance is a means-tested welfare payment made to qualified residents between the age 16-65 (the payments switches to a pension on the 66th birthday) — see here for rules — and the number of people paid the allowance has risen from 110,000 in 2006 to 154,000 in 2014 — a jump of 40%. However, at 5% of the working age population in 2014, Ireland’s rate is lower than several other Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) developed countries.

  • Irish Economy: Built to last or foundation of quicksand 2005 – 2015?

    Irish Economy: Ten years ago this week we asked the same question in an article headline as we do today. It was a time of optimism: almost 100,000 new jobs had been created in 2004; Citigroup, the US financial services giant, was the 2005 Irish Exporter of the Year, and in June of that year Thomas Friedman, chief foreign affairs columnist of The New York Times, wrote: “How Ireland went from the sick man of Europe to the rich man in less than a generation is an amazing story” — in 2006 we warned that the “outlook for the Celtic Tiger beyond 2008 looks uncertain, there is a sense that the significant opportunities to reform and modernise the economy to better withstand future challenges, have been wasted.”

  • Irish GDP and GNP grow 7% and 5.6% in 9 months to Sept 2015

    The Irish economy has grown strongly in the nine months to Sept 2015, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office today. However, the headline growth may be overstating real growth due to tax inversion and overseas contracting distortio…

  • Dublin house rents near boom peak; Rents and wages too low

    Dublin house/ residential rents are close to the 2007 boomtime peak that followed a year (2006) when the number of housing units built in Ireland was at an all-time record high of 93,000. The number of residential units completed in 2014 was low at 11,…

  • Irish Innovation 2020 Strategy Report: Wish list based on distorted data

    The ‘Innovation 2020 – Ireland’s Strategy for Research and Development, Science and Technology’ document launched by Enda Kenny, taoiseach, on Tuesday is not a strategy but a politically-driven brochure of aspirations prefaced by the words ‘we will’ 14…

  • European Venture Capital: Governments fill funding gap

    European venture capital (VC) investments are on a healthy upward trend, returns and money multiples are growing, innovation hubs are emerging, and serial entrepreneurs are flourishing. However, European fund-raising has steadily slowed, while governme…

  • The next recession, low interest rates, the Fed and ECB’s Draghi

    The stock of Euro Area government bonds trading at negative yields at the end of November, was valued at more than €1.9tn — or approximately one third of the total market — according to the latest Bank for International Settlements (BIS) quarterly report, published Sunday. On Friday in New York following Thursday’s market disappointment with an extension of the monthly purchase of €60bn worth of bonds in the market by six months to March 2017, Mario Draghi, ECB president, made an emphatic statement that the central bank had “the power to act, the determination to act and the commitment to act” to meet its mandate of annual headline inflation of about 2%.

  • US adds 211,000 in November, broad jobless rate at 9.9%

    US nonfarm payroll employment rose by 211,000 in November, and the headline unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.0%. Job gains occurred in construction, professional and technical services, and health care. Employment declined in mining and information…

  • France’s 8% effective tax rate only for small and very big firms

    Corporate tax revenues have been falling across Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries since the global economic crisis, putting greater pressure on individual taxpayers to ensure that governments meet financing requirem…

  • Irish broad rate of unemployment at 19% in November

    The Irish broad rate of unemployment was at 19% in November 2015 with the numbers on the Live Register at a seasonally adjusted total of 330,000. Coupled with the 80,600 people who participate in public funded activation schemes, the total in receipt o…

  • Irish Exchequer Returns: Corporation tax up €2.3bn on target

    Irish Exchequer Returns for the 11 months to November show that corporation tax was up €2.3bn on the 2015 target and €2.2bn up on 2014 while overall tax revenues of €41.9bn were €2.9bn above target. Receipts were €3.8bn or 10% ahead of the same period in 2014.

  • Facebook’s Zuckerberg: No income tax, no fortune for charity

    Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan this week created a stir when they were reported to have pledged to give away 99% of their shares in the company — worth according to themselves $45bn — to good causes, when they announced the birth of their daughter Max (Maxima). Amidst all the bad news this good news got a lot of attention and it may seem churlish to undermine it. However, the truth is that the Facebook founder effectively pays no income tax and the shares are not being given to a charity.

  • China’s milestone as IMF declares renminbi a reserve currency

    China achieved a significant economic milestone Monday, when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) added the renminbi (RMB) to its basket of reserve currencies, a move that is likely to result in financial reforms in the world’s second-biggest economy. The Chinese currency, the renminbi (RMB), is to be included in the basket of currencies which make up the IMF’s Special Drawing Right, or SDR – “Renminbi” is the official name of the currency introduced by the Communist People’s Republic of China in 1949 and it means “the people’s currency” in Mandarin while “yuán” is the name of a unit of the renminbi. Something for example may cost one yuan or 10 yuán not 10 renminbi.

  • Euro Area jobless rate dips to 10.7%; Germany at 4.5%, Greece at 24.6%

    The Euro Area (EA19) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10.7% in October 2015, down from 10.8% in September 2015, and from 11.5% in October 2014. This is the lowest rate recorded in the Euro Area since January 2012. The EU28 unemployment rate wa…

  • Prescription drugs most expensive in US; Ireland a top spender

    The US pays the highest prices for prescription drugs and while Pfizer, the US pharmaceutical firm, says it is moving its tax residency to Ireland because of high taxes in the US and in each of the past five years managed to declare losses there, never…

  • Irish manufacturing PMI dipped slightly in November

    Irish manufacturing PMI activity dipped slightly in November with further sharp rises in new orders feeding through to higher output, employment and purchasing activity. Input costs continued to decrease in the latest survey period, but manufacturers r…

  • China’s manufacturing activity fell again in November; Japan’s rises

    China’s manufacturing activity fell again in November while there a rise in the PMI (purchasing manager’s index) in Japan, stagnation in India and a fall in South Korea. China’s official PMI, which tracks big state enterprises, fell to 49.6 in November, down from the previous month’s reading of 49.8. A level below the 50-mark indicates contraction in the sector, while one above suggests growth.

  • World’s nations gather in Paris for climate change conference

    The nations of the world gather on Monday in Paris to reach a new and universal climate change agreement, in the knowledge that they have already delivered an almost universal set of national responses to meet the long-term climate challenge before the conference even begins — there is of course a big difference between an aspiration and commitment. India is seen as an obstacle this time while China, which blocked a deal in Copenhagen in 2009, is now seen as positive as its citizens are increasingly concerned about air pollution. The conference is due to conclude on 11 Dec.

  • Irish fisheries industry and myth of EU stealing our fish

    It is striking that the policy of protecting Irish industry, which Éamon de Valera’s Fianna Fáil was implementing in 1933 coincided with the ending of Prohibition in the United States, but by the early 1960s, the Irish whiskey and fisheries industries were struggling and both were insignificant exporters. Today there is resentment in fishing communities about European Union (EU) quotas and conservation measures (including a requirement to land all fish caught) while there is also an enduring myth that other European countries are having a free fish lunch at Ireland’s expense.

  • EU farm numbers plunge 27% in decade; Ireland only riser

    Farm numbers in the European Union plunged 27% in the period 2003-2013 according to Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency on Thursday. Ireland was the only EU28 member country that showed a rise in holdings.

  • Irish farmers and Ireland’s struggle with transparency

    The resignation of the president of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) over revelations about the extraordinary pay, pensions and severance package for the general secretary of the lobbying organisation — effectively the chief administrator/ bureaucrat — highlights again the struggle in Ireland with providing transparency that has traditionally protected insiders.

  • UK chancellor gets boost from Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book

    George Osborne, the UK chancellor, on Wednesday presented the Autumn Statement on the government’s fiscal plans to the House of Commons and he had been delivered two unexpected gifts to take the sting from what would typically have been dubbed a “humiliating climbdown” or “U-turn” by the Opposition and political commentators: 1) The independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast before any changes, an unexpected cumulative reduction in net borrowing of £27bn up to 2020-21 compared with summer forecasts, due to a jump in tax receipts 2) John McDonnell, the Labour shadow chancellor, quoted from Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book — a popular 1960s appendage of well-off student revolutionaries in the West at a time when the Chinese Communist leader was engaged in a Cultural Revolution that brought chaos to the country. McDonnell flung his copy of Mao’s quotations across the Table of the House, literally handing Osborne an opportunity to make a joke at his expense.

  • Pfizer and Apple’s effective tax rates misleading fictions

    Pfizer and Apple’s published US effective tax rates are fictions which give a false impression of the tax payments that they make to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

  • Over a third Irish owner-occupiers without mortgages

    Over a third of Irish households are owner-occupiers without mortgages compared with 27% in the UK, 8% in Sweden and the Netherlands; 56% in Italy; 47% in Spain and 82% in Bulgaria, according to data published Monday by Eurostat, the EU statistics office — the poorer the country the higher the ratio. Data for Ireland is from 2013 and for 26 other members of the EU28 it is from 2014.

  • Economist Intelligence Unit launches tool to empower exporters

    Market Explorer is claimed to be a unique online tool that allows companies focused on market scanning and forecasting to immediately see which countries and cities offer the greatest opportunities for their products and services, now and in the future.

  • Decline in China’s industrial imports not offset by rising services

    Rising growth in China’s services sector doesn’t generate enough demand for foreign goods to offset the decline from a slowing industrial sector, according to research published Monday by the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank.

  • Pfizer: World’s new giant drugs firm to be Irish for tax savings

    Pfizer & Tax: Pfizer, the US drugs giant, which is one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical firms, is to become Irish for tax purposes and will be Ireland’s biggest company — dwarfing the value of Irish companies such as CRH and Ryanair. Ireland’s national accounts will be further distorted by companies that are mainly run from the US but hold board meetings in Dublin.

  • Nordics tops for financial literacy; Ireland lags UK, Germany

    In what is claimed as one of the most extensive measurements of global financial literacy to date, the Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services Global Financial Literacy Survey (S&P Global FinLit Survey) released this week finds that two-thirds of ad…

  • Angela Merkel: Ten years as chancellor at a time of peril

    On Sunday (22 Nov) Angela Merkel will be chancellor of Germany for ten years and until this year her governing style has been viewed as risk averse but for the first time, her bold move in early September to open Germany’s borders to war refugees, is s…

  • Irish Legal Services Reform: Kenny & Burton hoist the white flag

    Five years to the month after the Irish Government made a commitment in the 2010 international bailout agreement to introduce legal services reforms, and 25 years after the Fair Trade Commission recommended the ending of the ban on direct access by the public to barristers, Frances Fitzgerald, justice minister, said Wednesday: “This Government is delivering on long-overdue reforms”— this claim is “an oeconomy of truth” as Edmund Burke wrote of a contemporary issue in 1796 (the usage of oeconomy was later overtaken by the word economy). In the vernacular it is a lie as the minister has produced the feeble excuse for the non-reform that Enda Kenny, taoiseach, desired and which is bizarrely supported by his deputy, Joan Burton, who is also the Labour Party leader.

  • Jobs in Irish exporting firms down 30,000 since Q2 2008

    Jobs in Irish exporting firms at the end of September 2015 were down 30,000 compared with the second quarter (Q2) of 2008, according to the latest quarterly employment data published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on Tuesday.

  • Extremists in Europe & US see gain from barring refugees

    Right-wing political extremists in Europe and the US are targeting Syrian war refugees following last Friday’s terrorists attacks in Paris.  “We must not make the mistake of equating refugees with terrorists,” Ursula Von der Leyen, German defence minister, told the Monday edition of the German newspaper “Passauer Neue Presse,” according to Deutsche Welle, the German external broadcaster.

  • A once progressive Arab civilisation boundless and bare

    A thousand years ago when Europe was in the period known as the Dark Ages, the Arab world was generally an area of tolerance and trade. Percy Bysshe Shelley’s famous 1817 sonnet “Ozymandias” was about the “colossal wreck, boundless and bare” of a once …

  • Startups: Successful CEO-cum-founders a very rare breed

    Noam Wasserman, a professor at Harvard Business School, wrote in a Harvard Business Review article in 2008: “Every would-be entrepreneur wants to be a Bill Gates, a Phil Knight, or an Anita Roddick, each of whom founded a large company and led it for m…

  • Japanese economy in recession; GDP at ¥500tn for past 20 years

    Kyodo News reports that the Japanese economy shrank an annualised real 0.8% in the July-September period — the second straight quarterly contraction — dragged down by a weak recovery in consumer spending and sluggish capital investment, the government said Monday.

  • ECB to increase bond- buying after Euro Area growth dips

    The European Central Bank (ECB) is expected to increase the scale of its bond-buying programme after disappointing growth data for the Euro Area were published on Friday. Following strong US jobs data in October, the Federal Reserve may raise the key US federal funds rate for the first time since 2006, at its policy meeting on 15-16 Dec while Mario Draghi, ECB president, has given strong hints that the governing council may expand its €60bn a month asset-purchase program in December and also extend the programme beyond its intended run through September 2016.

  • China in Economic Transition: Common myths challenged

    The Financial Times reports that copper, considered a barometer for global economic growth because of its wide range of industrial uses, fell to a six-year low below $5,000 a tonne on Thursday. Oil, which dipped almost 20% since a rally in October, fell under $45 a barrel on Thursday, less than half the level it traded at for much of this decade. China again is the focus and Goldman Sachs said this week that recent data pointed to contracting demand in China’s “old economy” as the government struggles to manage a transition to more consumer-led growth. However, it’s not all doom and gloom and a three-decades long foreign resident has highlighted five myths about the Middle Kingdom.

  • Europe’s export stars: Ireland and UK as laggards Part 2

    In 2012 George Osborne, UK chancellor, spoke of the “march of the makers” challenging companies to double exports to £1tn by 2020 — the target will not be met. Neither will the British government target to add 100,000 exporters be met — the numbers fell in 2014. Last March in Ireland, Enda Kenny, taoiseach, said in a speech on the Irish 2014 trade performance that “export growth at 12.6% was the strongest since 2001.” This jump on the 2013 export headline value masked a reality that is a taboo issue at official level — the indigenous international trading sector is among the worst in Europe.

  • Europe’s export superstars: Austria, Denmark, Germany Part 1

    Last week the head of the British Chambers of Commerce said that “The UK has too few exporting companies” but even at official level there is a wide gulf in the estimates of the number of British exporting firms. In an analysis of European economies, w…

  • OECD cuts forecast after dramatic slowdown in global trade

    A dramatic slowdown in global trade, triggered by falls in demand in China and other emerging markets, is impacting the global recovery, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said Monday.

  • German exports up in Sept; Volkswagen scandal a threat

    German exports recovered in September, but there may be squalls ahead in the wake of the Volkswagen diesel scandal. Compared with August 2015, exports increased by a calendar and seasonally adjusted 2.6%, and imports by 3.6% — in August exports plunged 5.2% while imports dipped 3.2%.

  • Irish, US firms with Irish HQs raise €415m to end Sept 2015

    The Irish Venture Capital Association (IVCA) says “Irish tech SMEs” raised €415m to end September 2015, an increase of 32% on the same period last year. The VenturePulse survey which is published in association with William Fry, the Dublin law firm, includes several firms that are controlled from the US but are legally Irish for tax purposes.

  • US jobless rate at 5% in October; Broad rate falls to 9.8%

    US nonfarm payroll employment rose by 271,000 in October, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 5.0%. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and construct…

  • Merkel rejects transit zones; Refugees to boost EU/ Germany growth

    Angela Merkel, German chancellor, on Thursday rejected the proposal of a junior coalition partner to build transit zones on Germany’s borders for processing refugees. Also on Thursday the European Commission said that the economic impact of the arrival…

  • Irish broad level of unemployment at 416,474 in October

    The Irish broad level of unemployment was at 416,474 in October — about 19% of the workforce. The narrow level of unemployment in October was at 203,000 in October at a rate of 9.3% — this rate is the same as the average for the EU28: The EU-28 unemployment rate was 9.3% in September 2015, down from 9.4% in August 2015, and from 10.1 % in September 2014.

  • UK EU Brexit could cut Irish trade by 20% or maybe not

    A report commissioned by the Department of Finance on the impact of the UK exiting from the EU after a referendum, says Irish trade with Britain could be reduced by 20% or more. However, this week George Osborne, UK chancellor of the exchequer, spoke i…

  • Ireland: Apple’s foreign tax rate rises to 6% from 2% in 2012

    Ireland: Apple’s foreign tax rate on its overseas earnings rose to 6% in fiscal year 2015 that ended on 26 Sept 2015, and this compares with a rate of 2% in 2012. Total net income jumped from $53.5bn in 2014 to $72.5bn in 2015. Net income was at $50.1bn in 2013 — the headline corporate tax rate in Apple’s main overseas markets is at least 20%.

  • Mathematician George Boole as father of digital age

    George Boole, the mathematician who was born 200 years ago this week (2 Nov, 1815) in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England, was the son of a shoemaker, left school at the age of sixteen, never attended a university but would become the architect of what we c…

  • ESRI: Back To Education Allowance for Irish unemployed useless

    A research report on the Back To Education Allowance (BTEA) for Irish unemployed, produced by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and published Wednesday says the scheme was in effect useless as there is no evidence of improved employment…

  • Returns on Irish pension managed funds up 6%+ in October 2015

    Returns on Irish pension managed funds in October 2015 were above 6% in November offsetting the losses in the previous month.

  • Irish Innovation/ Entrepreneurship needs more focus than tax

    Last week we wrote that tax breaks remain the main Irish policy tool: they are easy to implement; without having to worry about evidence, they can intuitively seem wise and in accord with the conventional wisdom, and they are always welcomed by vested …

  • Europe had a growth crisis long before launch of euro in 1999

    Growth decelerated in several European countries before the launch of the euro in 1999; some countries had persistent problems with their public finances and the single currency was a continuation rather than a structural break in trade patterns with f…

  • Euro Area manufacturing weak in October despite ECB’s stimulus

    The growth rate of the Euro Area manufacturing sector ticked higher in October, as the final PMI (purchasing managers’ index) data for output, new orders and employment all came in stronger than the earlier flash estimates. However, the sector remained…

  • Chinese manufacturing slips; Japan up; India weak; Korea dips

    Chinese manufacturing has contracted for the third month in a row, according to the official monthly factory survey that mainly reflects the activities of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) while a survey of private sector companies shows that operating co…

  • Irish manufacturing output slowed in October – Data not reliable

    A further solid improvement in business conditions in the Irish manufacturing sector was recorded in October according to a monthly survey. However, the data are not reliable as official figures show a 30% surge in production in the 12 months to June — a jump of almost a third in activity suggests the booking of overseas production in Ireland for tax purposes, which is termed “contract manufacturing.”

  • Pfizer as Irish firm would swamp Ireland’s national accounts

    In 1849 with $2,500 borrowed from Charles Pfizer’s father, cousins Charles Pfizer and Charles Erhart, young entrepreneurs from Germany, opened Charles Pfizer & Company as a fine-chemicals business. It began in a modest red-brick building in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York and by 2014 through organic growth and acquisition, it had the second highest revenues for a pharmaceutical company in the world. Now Now Ian Read, its Scottish-born chairman and CEO, wants the group to become Irish for tax purposes. If it succeeds, it will further distort Ireland’s national accounts.

  • Euro Area inflation at 0% in October; Jobless at 17.3m in September

    Euro Area annual inflation is expected to be 0.0% in October 2015, up from -0.1% in September 2015, according to a flash estimate from Eurostat. The EU statistics office also reported today that the jobless level rose 131,000 to 17.3m in September, in …

  • Irish Economy: Kenny, the Army and political spin/ lies

    Irish Economy: In 1986 Sir Robert Armstrong, UK Cabinet Secretary, used a euphemism for lying that had its origin in 1796 — “economical with the truth” — during a court case in Australia on the British government’s request for a ban on a book by a former spy. The admission by Enda Kenny, taoiseach, this week that his past claims that Patrick Honohan, Central Bank governor, had suggested on a Wednesday in some undated week that the Army could be required to protect banks and ATM machines, from expected mobs in the streets, were not correct, appears to be an admission of a lie rather than tailoring the truth. It also highlights the corrosive impact of political spin.

  • Real property prices in many global cities doubled since 1998

    Real — inflation-adjusted — property prices in many global cities have doubled since 1998. On average, they are higher than before the 2007-08 financial crisis. The risk of a residential property bubble is most distinct in London and Hong Kong.

  • US GDP slows to annualised 1.5% after 3.9% rise in Q2

    US gross domestic product (GDP) economic growth fell sharply in the third quarter as firms’ inventories fell and the pace of spending by consumers, businesses and governments all decelerated. Today’s estimate is the first of three and also in the third…

  • Pay at Irish micro and small firms fell in year to June 2015

    Joan Burton, tánaiste and minister of social protection, in an op-ed piece in the Irish Times today writes on “why public sector workers deserve a pay rise.” We are not disputing that point in this analysis, but in support of her case Burton appears to be unaware that official data show that pay at Irish micro and small firms fell in the year to June 2015.

  • Catalonia plans secession to end 300 years of modern Spain

    Modern Spain dates from the end of the War of the Spanish Succession in 1715 and on Tuesday the government of the once independent Catalonia announced a plan for secession to end what its sees as 300 years of colonial rule from Madrid.

  • Doing Business 2016: Singapore on top; Ireland slips to 17 ranking

    Doing Business 2016: The latest World Bank flagship assessment of the ease of doing business in 189 economies puts Singapore on top again while Ireland slipped to a 17 rank from 13 last year. In the global ranking stakes, joining Singapore on the list …

  • Investors looking to central banks to counter bad news with QE

    The European Central Bank last week signalled more quantitative easing (QE) or bond-buying from December. The Bank of Japan will hold a policy board meeting on this Friday amid growing speculation over whether it will surprise markets with additional c…

  • Venture Capital 3Q 2015: US at $19bn; China $14bn; Europe €3bn

    Venture Capital investments in 3Q 2015 tracked by Dow Jones VentureSource, a sister company of The Wall Street Journal show that US firms raised $19bn, Chinese firms raised $14bn and European firms raised €3bn.

  • Heat levels in Middle East may rise beyond human endurance

    Within this century, parts of the Middle East, in particular the Persian Gulf region, could be hit with unprecedented events of deadly heat as a result of climate change, according to a study of high-resolution climate models, published Monday. Generally, Jeddah, the Red Sea port city in Western Saudi Arabia and Mecca in the mountains to the south, have more moderate temperatures than in the east coast but I was in Jeddah on 30 June 1995 for the hottest day in 20 years — 48°Celsius (118°Fahrenheit) and higher when humidity is accounted for. In more recent times Jeddah has been hit by extreme floodings and on 22 June 2010 the temperature rose to 52°C (126°F) — the record heat was accompanied by a sandstorm, which triggered power plant blackouts.

  • Europe’s Coalition of the Ignorant on genetically modified foods?

    Well-fed Europeans are seen as generally pro-science on climate change but anti-science on genetically modified food and in recent days have been called the Coalition of the Ignorant. By October a total of 19 EU countries or regions within them, have “opted out” of growing genetically modified organism (GMOs)-based crops within all or part of their territories — Austria, Belgium for the Wallonia region, Britain for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia.

  • Indonesia’s burning peatlands spread carbon across Southeast Asia

    Kuala Lumpur: We reported last month that the El Niño weather pattern which originates in the Pacific Ocean may be the strongest since 1950. In Asia this past week, Luzon, the main Philippine island, was deluged with water but not too far distant, there has been little rain and over 100,000 peatland fires in Indonesia have been tracked this year and they continue to smoulder, releasing greenhouse gases equivalent to about 600m tons through September 22, a number that rivals annual carbon dioxide emissions from Germany, according to Guido van der Werf, a Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam scientist.

  • Euro Area services growth boosted expansion in October

    The Euro Area economic upturn regained some momentum at the start of the fourth quarter. The Markit Eurozone PMI (purchasing managers’ index) rose from September’s four month low of 53.6 to reach 54.0 in October, according to the flash estimate.

  • Japanese manufacturing activity rises at fastest pace since March 2014

    Japanese manufacturing activity expanded in October at its fastest pace since March 2014 as new domestic and export orders increased, a preliminary business survey showed on Friday.

  • ECB to refuel its quantitative easing rocket in December

    Mario Draghi, ECB president, Thursday signalled following a meeting of the central bank’s governing council in Valletta, Malta, that the bank is ready to refuel its quantitative easing (QE) rocket with a ramp-up in bond purchases and a cut to the alrea…

  • Staid Switzerland struggles to adjust to changing world

    Staid Switzerland has had to deal with many challenges in recent times. The once cherished bank secrecy system is set to end; the attraction of the Swiss Franc as a safe haven has made the main cities the most expensive in the world, and after last Sun…

  • London best EU city for digital entrepreneurs; Dublin 8th rank

    ondon is the best city in Europe for digital entrepreneurs, according to a new index that measures what startups and scale-ups say is important to them. Dublin has got an 8th ranking.

  • Irish commercial property returns +25.9% in year to September

    Irish commercial property returns were at +25.9% in the 12 months to September 2015. The JLL Irish Property Index continued to perform strongly, with Overall Returns of +7.7% in the quarter. Overall Returns in the last 12 months total +25.9%. This is the 16th consecutive quarter of positive growth.

  • China-UK golden age? Ireland has to find its Silk Road

    Silk originated in China and the Silk Road is the collective name given to a number of ancient trade routes linking China and Central Asia. Modern China wants to recreate the Silk Road with road and rail links from Beijing via Urumqi in the north to we…

  • Renminbi on course to become global investment currency

    Despite heightened worries in recent weeks about the stability of China’s economy and the process of reform, around two-thirds (63%) of senior executives from financial services companies in China, and more than three-quarters of those offshore (78%) think that the renminbi (RMB) will become fully convertible and tradable without restrictions in around five years’time. Majorities of both groups believe it will take only slightly longer (7-10 years) for the RMB to become a global investment currency. 

  • German housing remains cheap; Density boosts prosperity

    An analysis of 200 European cities shows that housing in Germany is too cheap rather than too expensive while comparisons of prosperity between countries as well as between regions within a country show that the higher the share of the urban population…

  • Capital outflows from China over $500bn in 8 months of 2015

    A report by the US Treasury has estimated that capital outflows from China in the 8 months of 2015 to August exceeded $500bn. The report says that the renminbi (RMB) has appreciated nearly 30% in real effective terms since June 2010.

  • Ireland a low-tax country; Kenny wants radical income tax cuts

    Ireland: The national parliament’s belated Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis, colloquially known as the Banking Inquiry, has yet to report but expect nothing as you shall not be disappointed. Enda Kenny, taoiseach, who has put tax cuts at the heart of his party’s general election programme, in commonwith his recent predecessors merits the famous epitaph for the French Bourbons delivered by Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand, prince de Bénévent: “they had learned nothing and forgotten nothing.”

  • Reality check on tech unicorns losing magical allure

    This was a week for a reality check on some of the startups and older private firms that have at least a one billion dollar valuation. In recent years the tech industry has called these firms unicorns after the mythological animal resembling a horse or…

  • Dutch house price doubled in 350 years; Irish prices in 20 years

    Finfacts reported in 2010 that the real price — on constant currency value basis calculated by stripping out inflation — of a Dutch house in Amsterdam, the commercial capital of The Netherlands, only doubled in more than 350 years according to IMF research. In Ireland through boom, bust and recovery, real prices have almost doubled in about 20 years.

  • US entrepreneurship woos wealthy, not enough middle class

    Census data show that the portion of US firms and employment accounted for by startups has declined since the 1980s according to a Harvard Business School (HBS) report. However, respondents to a survey of HBS alumni paint a very positive picture of ent…

  • Global recession likely in next 2 years — depends on definition

    Last month when Citi Research forecast that a global recession is likely in coming years, Martin Wolf, the chief economic commentator of the Financial Times wrote tha the case was plausible. “This does not mean we must expect a recession. But people sh…

  • Budget: Morning in Ireland — the good times are back again

    Apart from a tax rise on cigarettes, the two ministerial statements on Tuesday setting out budget tax cuts and planned spending rises in 2016, were packed with items of cheer for the public that politicians yearn to deliver. Watching the change from th…

  • Budget 2016 Day: Noonan will woo Irish voters from 2:15pm

    Budget 2016 Day: Michael Noonan, finance minister, will begin his Budget statement at 2:15pm today and he is expected to confirm the official leaks in recent weeks of a package of tax cuts and spending hikes worth €3bn that the Government hopes will woo Irish voters in advance of an early 2016 general election.

  • One-handed economists, Nobels and economics as a science

    “Give me a one-handed economist! All my economists say, ‘On the one hand’ and ‘On the other,'” Harry Truman, US president 1945-1953, once said, and Monday’s announcement of what is commonly called the Nobel Prize in Economics raises a perennial questio…

  • Irish Budget 2016: Pre-election giveaway doubles to €3bn

    Irish Budget 2016: Michael Noonan, finance minister, has the money to spend and he has doubled the total pre-election giveaway to €3bn in tax cuts and spending rises, which he will announce on Budget Day tomorrow — Tuesday 13 Oct.

  • Canada and Ireland face similar innovation policy challenges

    Canada will hold a general election on 19 Oct and with the economy confirmed on 1 Sept to have been in recession in the first half of 2015 due to the collapse in oil prices, the three main political parties have policies to improve on the dismal innovation performance. However, Jim Balsillie, co-founder of Research In Motion (RIM), now BlackBerry Ltd., says the maker of the world’s first smartphone, was an anomaly in Canada and the country “isn’t equipped for global competition.” Last July Damien English, minister of state for research, promised that Ireland would have a new “ambitious and visionary” strategy for investment in science by October — a visionary strategy may not be a credible one and policymakers need to understand the difference between invention and innovation.

  • Irish Politics: Scraps on tax & welfare in place of vision

    Irish Politics: Whether the next general election is held in November or March 2016 will not matter as we know that the familiar campaign template of boom, bust and recovery, will be in place with scraps on tax, welfare and public spending. We also kno…

  • Half Ireland’s population paid public income supports in 2014

    Half Ireland’s population was paid public income supports in 2014 according to data from the Department of Social Protection and the European Commission. In 2014 2.22m people including dependents were in receipt of payments from the Department of Social Protection and there were 125,000 beneficiaries of the European Common Agricultural Policy.

  • German exports / imports fell in August; Trade surplus rose

    Both German exports and imports fell in August while the trade surplus rose according to data issued Thursday by Destatis, the federal statistics office. The plunge in exports was the worst since 2009 and reflects the poor trading situation of emerging…

  • Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: Irish tax / grants not key to success

    Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: Policymakers and lobbyists in Ireland and elsewhere focus on tax incentives, grants and business regulations as key ingredients in promoting business startups and the number of entrepreneurs in an economy. However, this conv…

  • Merkel rejects limits on refugees from war entering Germany

    Angela Merkel, German chancellor, has rejected any limit on migrants entering Germany, saying that it would be impractical. In a television interview Wednesday, the chancellor said she was “convinced” that the country would cope.

  • German and Spanish industrial production dip in August; Up in UK

    German and Spanish industrial production dipped in August but it rose in teh UK boosted by a jump in oil and gas production and a moderate rebound in manufacturing.

  • Merkel, Hollande to address European Parliament on refugees

    Angela Merkel, German chancellor, and François Hollande, French president, will make a joint address to the European Parliament Wednesday on the refugee crisis.  “This is a historic visit for historically difficult times,” said Martin Schulz, the German SPD a centre-left president of the parliament. “The EU is facing immense challenges and requires strong commitment from its leaders.”

  • IMF warns on worst global growth since financial crisis in 2009

    The International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday that global growth is projected to decline from 3.4% in 2014 to 3.1% in 2015, and rise to 3.6% in 2016, reflecting in 2015 a further slowdown in emerging markets, partially offset by a modest pickup in activity in advanced economies — particularly in the Euro Area. This pickup, supported by the decline in oil prices and accommodative monetary policy, will modestly narrow output gaps.

  • Ireland & Beps Tax Reform: Services exports to drop 50%

    Ireland & Beps Tax Reform: The final proposals of the OECD Beps (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) project that were published on Monday, are expected to be ratified by the 19 leaders of the world’s biggest advanced and emerging economies, at a G-2…

  • OECD issues final proposals on landmark corporate tax reform

    The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a think-tank for 34 mainly advanced country governments, today issued final proposals on corporate tax reform that are a landmark development since the evolution of international busines…

  • Eurozone growth waning at end of Q3; UK at 30-month low

    The Eurozone economy continued to make steady progress in September, as solid gains in output and new orders supported further job creation. However, the rate of growth eased to a four-month low. The rate of UK economic growth slowed to a 30-month low …

  • German economy to overcome Volkswagen’s emissions fraud

    There is no doubt that the emissions cheating scandal, disclosed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last month, is a huge blow to the reputation of the leading German car group and is also damaging to the ‘Made in Germany’ brand. However, …

  • Irish Budget 2016: Bruton wants 30% flat tax rate for immigrants

    Irish Budget 2016: Richard Bruton, jobs and enterprise minister, has called for a 30% flat tax for immigrants, a cut in the capital gains tax (CGT) rate to 10% and Zero for the majority of private sector workers with no occupational pension coverage.

  • OECD Beps: Biggest corporate tax reform plan since 1920s

    On Monday (5 Oct) the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will present its final Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (Beps) project corporate tax reform proposals and on Tuesday the Ecofin council of EU finance ministe…

  • Irish tax €1.7bn ahead of target; Corporation tax up €1.2bn

    Today’s Exchequer Statement for September 2015 shows that the position of the Exchequer continues to improve with the underlying Exchequer deficit in 2015 at €2.1bn compared to an underlying deficit of c. €6.1bn in 2014 (excluding all of the substantial one-off transactions). This equates to a year-on-year improvement of c. €4.0bn on the back of increased tax and non-tax revenue and reduced expenditure.

  • US added 142,000 jobs in September; Broad jobless rate at 10%

    Nonfarm US jobs increased by 142,000 in September, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.1% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment rose in health care and information, while mining lost jobs. Thus far in 2015, nonfarm job growth…

  • Top global city governments for innovation

    Today, 54% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 66% by 2050 according to the United Nations. The development of creative industries is getting increasing attention from city governments and recent…

  • Global manufacturing weak; EM net outflows first since 1988

    Global manufacturing remained stuck firmly in the slow lane at the end of the third quarter, hindered by slumping demand in many key EM (emerging markets) countries. Meanwhile in more gloomy data Thursday, it was forecast that this year EM net capital …

  • Euro Area deflation returns in September; Jobless rate flat at 11%

    Euro Area annual inflation/ deflation is expected to be -0.1% in September 2015, down from 0.1% in August 2015, according to a flash estimate today from Eurostat, the statistics office of the European Union. Also today it was reported that the Euro Are…

  • Euro Area manufacturing in third quarter modest; UK subdued

    The Euro Area manufacturing sector continued to make steady progress at the end of the third quarter, as production and new business both expanded at modest rates. Cost pressures shifted to the downside, however, with input costs and selling prices fal…

  • Europe’s universities on top; UCD closes in on Trinity in Ireland

    Europe has 345 universities in the world top 800, meaning its institutions comprise more than two-fifths of the expanded Times Higher Education (THE) ranking in the 2015/16 edition. Among the Irish universities, UCD (University College Dublin) has clos…

  • Irish Government’s timidity on legal services reform

    Reform at governance level in Ireland comes at glacial speed if at all. After decades of delay and in the final months of the 31st Dáil Éireann parliamentary term, the current Irish Government hopes to see the enactment of timid legal services reform proposals with further procrastination provided for in the legislation.

  • Chinese manufacturing dips again in September; Asia weak overall

    Chinese manufacturing activity contracted for the second straight month in September, according to an official survey released on Thursday, which suggests that the chances of another interest rate cut by the People’s Bank of China is likely.

  • Irish manufacturing output slowed to 19-month low in September

    While business conditions in the Irish manufacturing sector improved again in September amid marked growth of new business, the rate of expansion in production slowed to a 19-month low. Meanwhile, input prices fell for the first time in seven months amid falling prices for oil-related products and other raw materials — Irish manufacturing prices track movements in the dollar/euro rate as American-owned firm dominate the sector.

  • US Tax Reform Failure- Warns EU with never-used 82-year-old law

    It is almost 30 years since President Ronald Reagan signed a major US tax reform bill into law and since the late 1990s in particular, the corporate tax system has been massively abused by large American multinational firms. From early 2009, President …

  • Global economy data remains poor amidst some optimism

    On Tuesday leading indicators published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) showed that based on January data, economic activity continued to point to continuing slowdowns in the US, the UK, Canada and Russia, with addit…

  • Women earned on average 16% less than men in the EU in 2014

    Women earned on average 16% less than men in the EU in 2014. Estonia had the highest gap at 28%, Germany was third highest at 22% while there was no data for Ireland and Greece.

  • US, Singapore top destinations for Chinese investment in 2015

    The US and Singapore are once again the most attractive destinations for Chinese outbound investment. This is the key finding of the 2015 China Going Global Index (GGI), published this year by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

  • Switzerland, Netherlands, Nordics lead 2015 patents to population

    The European Patent Office reported in its annual report published last week that the inventiveness of Europe’s leading economies is reflected in the ratio of European patent applications filed to population and Switzerland again topped the ranking in …

  • Euro Area retail sales rise; Composite PMI at 13-month low

    Euro Area retail sales rose in January according to Eurostat today but composite PMI (purchasing managers’ index) survey data for February comprising activity in both manufacturing and services, fell to a 13-month low while French data fell below the n…

  • Irish pension fund returns negative in 2016 and past 12 months

    The volatility in global markets in the first two months of 2016 has resulted in negative returns for Irish pensions and the performance over the past 12 months was also in the red.

  • Exports not a significant jobs engine for Irish economy

    Later this month complete export data for 2015 will be released and after a total vale of €215bn in 2014, the value in 2015 may have been up to €250bn with indigenous exports including tourism and transport accounting for less than €30bn. While the total export value of €158bn in 2007 is not directly comparable with more recent data because of a change in methodology, still the increase would be enough to have official spinners and their yarn merchants salivating on superlatives. However, not only should last Friday’s election washout for the governing parties lead to a questioning of the relentless public propaganda using distorted data but there is also a reality that exports are not a significant jobs engine for the Irish economy.

  • Irish Election 2016: A comeback for Lazarus and the Hidden Ireland!

    The conventional wisdom that at least Fine Gael, the senior party in the outgoing governing coalition government, would reap the benefit of the Irish economic recovery in last Friday’s general election, has been upended. As the count proceeds, Fianna Fáil, the architect of the property-fuelled boom and bust, has almost matched the Fine Gael vote, and after its near death experience in the 2011 general election, the once long-dominant political party can claim to have made one of the political comebacks that for political journalists at least merits comparison with Lazarus, the biblical character.

  • Brexit: UK economy in much better health since 1973

    Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary for long took pleasure in tweaking the tails of the fat cats of the establishment but as some British business leaders this week shied away from taking a public stance on Brexit — the shorthand that combines the words Britain and exit from the European Union, which British voters will decide on via a referendum on 23 June, 2016 — O’Leary made a strong call for an anti-Brexit vote.

  • France is seeking €1.6 billion in back taxes from Google

    France is seeking €1.6bn in back taxes from Google, the US Internet search giant, according to a source at the finance ministry in Paris, reported by Reuters on Wednesday. In London also on Wednesday, the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said in a report that a settlement by Google with the HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) that was announced last month “seems disproportionately small when compared with the size of Google’s business in the UK, reinforcing our concerns that the rules governing where corporation tax is paid by multinational companies do not produce a fair outcome.”

  • Only 5,000 jobs added in Irish economy in fourth quarter of 2015

    Jobs growth in the Irish economy slowed sharply in the fourth quarter of 2015 with just under 5,000 jobs added in the period. The CSO reported today that there was an annual increase in employment of 2.3% or 44,100 in the year to the fourth quarter of 2015, bringing total employment to 1,983,000. On a seasonally adjusted basis, employment increased by 4,700 (+0.2%) over the previous quarter. This follows on from a seasonally adjusted increase in employment of 9,600 (+0.5%) in Q3 2015.

  • Global sea levels rose faster in 20th century in 2,800 years

    Global sea levels rose faster in the 20th century than in any of the other 27 in 2,800 years, according to a Rutgers University-led study published Monday in the United States. Moreover, without global warming, global sea levels would have risen by les…

  • German SMEs protest against EU-US TTIP trade/ investments talks

    Resumption of trade and investment talks between the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) prompted a protest against the planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement with representatives of German SMEs (small and me…

  • Enda Kenny angry with Ireland’s parish-pump whingers & dissenters

    Enda Kenny, taoiseach, at the weekend speaking in Castlebar, his hometown in Western Ireland, made a gaffe by describing locals who don’t share his sunny optimism about the Irish economy as “All-Ireland champion whingers.” After 40 years in national po…

  • Calls for helicopter money as central banks exhaust money printing

    This week Ray Dalio, the founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, which has some $155bn in funds under management, said that current unconventional efforts to raise economic growth through bond buying in the markets, which is called quantitative easing or more commonly money printing, have lost their potency and central banks may have to resort to radical measures such as “helicopter money.” On Thursday the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) — a think tank for 34 mainly developed country governments — said governments must act “urgently” and “collectively” to raise spending in advanced economies as it cut its growth forecasts against a backdrop falling trade and market turmoil. The OECD reduced growth estimates for every member of the G7 group of leading industrial nations — the US, Japan, Germany, France, UK, and Canada.

  • Irish General Election: What if Enda Kenny told the truth?

    Irish General Election: “The road to power is paved with hypocrisy and casualties. Never regret,” says the Frank Underwood character, played by Kevin Spacey in the American version of ‘House of Cards.’ On 9 March 2011, Enda Kenny set a high bar for his new government on honesty but high principle soon gave way to what has become conventional in modern times: pervasive spin — a convenient euphemism for manipulation and lies.

  • Sun sets on decades of high growth in US, Europe & Asia

    In recent days we have had data which show weak late 2015 growth or shrinkage in the Euro Area and Japan, while last month it was reported that the US economy grew at an annualised rate of 0.7% in the final three months of the 2015. Coupled with the ec…

  • Returning Irish needed to fill workforce’s big skills gap

    For a second time in a quarter century returning skilled Irish emigrants are seen as essential to fill a skills gaps in the workforce — again it’s easier than addressing the enduring skills gap at home.

  • Euro Area grows 0.3% in Q4 2015 — Italy, Austria stagnate

    Seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.3% in both the Euro Area (EA19) and the EU28 during the fourth quarter of 2015, compared with the previous quarter, according to a flash estimate published Friday by Eurostat, the statistics office of the European Union.

  • Keeping Irish economic recovery going? Policy or prayer?

    “Let’s keep the recovery going” is the Fine Gael slogan of the general election but apart from hoping that prayer or luck would end the current turmoil on global markets, Fine Gael does not say how it would respond to a dip in growth in key markets bec…

  • In record year Swedish multinational closes Irish pension scheme

    A Swedish multinational closed its Irish pension scheme in 2012 — a record year for group profits — and the opportunistic move in Ireland was not because of a collapse in investment values after the bubble burst but because during the boom years the Irish subsidiary delivered bumper dividends to Stockholm while its pension scheme was underfunded.

  • Germany’s record trade surplus in 2015; US, UK, France in deficit

    On Tuesday Germany announced a new record trade surplus for 2015 while the US, UK and France posted another year of trade deficits. China reported a surplus last month and Japan reported its fifth straight deficit despite plunging oil prices.

  • Dublin properties for rent plunge to low of 1,400 in 2016

    Irish house rents rose nationwide by an average of 9.0% during 2015, according to the latest quarterly Rental Report by Daft.ie. This compares to an increase of 10.7% in 2014 and 6.7% in 2013. The national average rent between October and December was €979, compared to €898 a year previously. Supply of properties for rent remains very low with just 1,400 rental homes on the market this month.

  • Irish General Election: Media needs to challenge status quo

    The 2011 Irish General Election was inevitably about the short-term following the bursting of the economic bubble. This time, Enda Kenny, taoiseach, has ensured that the 2016 election is a traditional short-term focus election campaign with the main arguments on taxes, bribes for voters and related budget issues, while the mainstream media also maintains a passive traditional role in being a facilitator for the politicians rather than a catalyst in forcing them to address challenges facing Ireland beyond the 2021 horizon of the 32nd Dáil Éireann.

  • Just 10 firms paid 50% of record Irish corporation tax in 2015

    Irish corporation tax receipts jumped by almost 50% in 2015 and only 10 firms accounted for about 50% of receipts in the year — a windfall for the Exchequer resulted in a rise in receipts from €4.6bn in 2014 to €6.9bn in 2015. In 2014 Finfacts estimated that about 40 American firms accounted for two-thirds of Ireland’s headline exports in 2013.

  • 406,000 dole claimants in 2016, broad Irish jobless rate at 18%

    The seasonally-adjusted total on the Irish Live Register and in public activation jobs schemes was at 405,509 in the first month of 2016 according to the CSO today. The broad jobless rate was 18% compared with the narrow rate of 8.6% based on the Inter…

  • Irish pension funds returns fell about 4% in January 2016

    A slide in share prices in January 2016 resulted in a monthly fall of about 4% in the returns of Irish pensions funds.

  • US giant firms and Europe’s new response to tax fraud

    Just over 5 years ago citizen activism against corporate tax evasion/ avoidance began when mainly women in a group called UK Uncut began occupying the high profile London retail stores of the Arcadia group such as Topshop, BHS, Burton, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins, controlled by Sir Philip Green, one of Britain’s richest men, who had given a £1.2bn tax-free dividend to his wife — a resident of Monaco. Last week, Rupert Murdoch, another billionaire, said strong new laws were required to prevent small local businesses from being ruined by global tech companies paying “token” taxes.

  • Ireland second-highest OECD health spending, poorest outcomes

    Ireland has the second-highest health spending ratio in OECD area which comprises of 34 mainly developed countries but it has some of the worst health outcomes among advanced countries.

  • Irish Banking Inquiry 2016: Delayed wisdom, glacial change

    Irish Banking Inquiry 2016: The publication of a parliamentary report on the banking crash 7 years and 4 months following the decision of Ireland’s government on 30 September 2008 to provide a state guarantee for both the debts of domestic banks and de…

  • Global House Prices: Dublin prices seriously unaffordable

    An annual survey of house prices in several global locations has rated Dublin prices as seriously unaffordable while Limerick has the most affordable housing costs of all markets surveyed.

  • 60% of Irish private workers have no jobs pension

    60% of Irish private workers have no jobs pension while there is a 100% coverage and special pension provisions for politicians, and 100% coverage for public sector workers. Last year pension payments rose for former politicians and it’s not surprising…

  • Tax: Irish Government angry at unfair EU treatment of Apple

    Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, visited the European Commission’s offices in Brussels Thursday to lobby for in effect an amnesty in the investigation of the electronics giant’s special or unusual tax arrangements using Irish companies to avoid/ evade massive am…

  • Irish media sustains distorting politics of jobs spin

    Fine Gael this week effectively acknowledged that Enda Kenny, taoiseach, lied in January 2015 when he reported a false total for recession job losses (see below). On Wednesday the Government’s jobs publicity machine generated 30 reports in the Irish media on announcements of up to 1,500 jobs that maybe created in 5 years (no company will guarantee what payroll it would have in 5 years) while also Wednesday in the Dáil, two Opposition spokespersons put questions to Richard Bruton, jobs and enterprise minister, on jobs targets and the politics of jobs spin. The proceedings in which Bruton trashed the credibility of Department of Finance economists, generated 1 media report (same report in 2 outlets).

  • Global unemployment set to rise 4.8m in 2016/ 2017 as growth dips

    Global unemployment is forecast to rise 4.8m in 2016/ 2017 despite high total unemployment of 197.1m in 2015, which was 27m higher than the pre-crisis level of 2007. Continuing high rates of unemployment worldwide and chronic vulnerable employment in m…

  • France’s Hollande to add 500,000 fake jobs to cut jobless rate

    On Monday François Hollande, French president, proclaimed an economic and social emergency (‘un état d’urgence économique et social’) and the creation of 500,000 fake jobs is the main item of a number of measures that he announced to business and trade union leaders. With a presidential election due in 15 months, Hollande has said in the past that he would not seek reelection if unemployment is higher than when he took office in May 2012 — the harmonised jobless rate was at 9.7% in Q2 2012 and last November it was at 10.1%.

  • China’s 2015 official growth rate lowest in 25 years

    China has announced its official growth rate for 2015 which is the lowest in a quarter century but some economic commentators suggest that the real rate was lower.

  • Shrinking US workforce triggers decline in business startups

    Young US firms up to five years old account for most new job creation in the economy but the rate of formation of employer startups (firms that employ staff other than the founders) has both fallen sharply in recent decades while the number of employee…

  • Communist China has very high level of income inequality

    Communist China has one of the world’s highest levels of income inequality, with the richest 1% of households owning a third of the country’s wealth, a study produced by Peking University has found.

  • Germany full-employment, best budget surplus in 15 years

    Germany’s finance ministry this week reported a 2015 budget surplus that is double the original target and the result of record tax revenues and one-off effects. Wolfgang Schäuble, finance minister, said that he would allocate the surplus of €12bn to refugee costs — the surplus gross domestic product ratio was 0.5%.

  • Irish food/ drinks exports in 2015 – far below potential

    Another Irish public agency had a good news story to tell on Wednesday on performance in 2015 with many superlatives deployed to please ministers. Media headlines have noted that Irish food and drinks exports rose to a record in the year and it certain…

  • China’s foreign trade surplus rises 56.7% in 2015, imports fall

    China’s foreign trade surplus widened to 元3.69tn yuan/ renminbi ($562bn) in 2015, an increase of 56.7% from a year earlier, customs data showed on Wednesday.

  • Lagarde says emerging world facing new reality on growth

    Christine Lagarde, IMF managing director, said Tuesday that after years of success, emerging and developing countries are now confronted with a new reality. Growth rates are down, and cyclical and structural forces have undermined the traditional growt…

  • Ireland not only country with dodgy unemployment data

    The US has published two monthly rates of unemployment since the mid 1990s and in Europe Jacques Freyssinet (b.1937), the prominent French labour economist, has succeeded in having what he calls “halo du chômage” or unemployment halo — unemployed people seeking work who are not included in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) definition of unemployed — included in official data. Official training programmes also give an opportunity to massage the data and in Ireland Enda Kenny, taoiseach, has announced a bogus full-employment target.

  • War and Peace: Tolstoy’s rejection of the ‘Great Man’ theory

    Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910: Lev Nikolayevich, Graf [count] Tolstoy, in Russian], one of the world’s greatest novelists, is currently getting general attention because of the BBC’s adaptation of his epic and monumental novel War and Peace, which was written in 1865–1869. It is set in the period from 1805 to 1820 and describes the war between Russia and France through 1812. The book also contains an analysis of leadership that has resonance today, and Tolstoy rejects the notion that great men were instrumental in achieving success or failure in history.

  • Irish standard of living below EU28, Euro Area and Italian averages

    The Irish standard of living per capita is below the averages for the European Union (EU28), the Euro Area (EA19), and struggling Italy, according to data published in December 2015 by Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office.

  • US adds 292,000 jobs in December 2015, Broad jobless rate at 10%

    US nonfarm payroll employment increased by 292,000 in December, and the unemployment rate held at 5.0%. Job growth occurred in several industries, led by professional and business services, construction, health care, and food services and drinking plac…

  • Irish dole claims end 2015 at 410,000, Broad jobless rate at 19%

    The number of Irish unemployment benefit claims at the end of 2015 amounted to 410,000 comprising 329,000 on the Live Register and 81,000 in publicly funded activation schemes, according to CSO data published Thursday. The broad jobless rate based on a…

  • Firms in Japan, US, France account for 85% of Top 100 innovators

    Firms in Japan, US and France account for 85% of the Top 100 innovators in the global corporate world according to Thomson Reuters. The selection is based on an analysis of overall patent volume, patent-grant success rates, global reach and invention i…

  • UK Economy: Osborne warns of global risks and complacency

    UK Economy: George Osborne, UK chancellor, is expected to warn Thursday of a “dangerous cocktail” of global threats faces the British economy this year. He also will warn that complacency about the economy is starting to take hold.

  • World Bank sees small rise in 2016 growth- BRICS pose risk

    The World Bank in a report published in Washington DC on Wednesday, warns that a simultaneous slowdown in the leading emerging economies, would have a serious impact on global growth prospects. Bigger contractions than expected in Brazil and Russia and…

  • Average annual returns on Irish pension funds at 10% in 2015

    December was a month of falling share prices but in 2015 average annual returns on Irish pension funds were up to 10%.  The average managed fund return has been a very strong 13.8% per annum over the past three years. The five-year average return is a healthy 10.3% per annum. Irish group pension managed fund returns over the past ten years have been 4.7% per annum on average.

  • Irish export firms add 10,000 jobs – exporting jobs below 2008

    Irish-owned exporting firms added a net 10,169 jobs in 2015 according to a survey that was carried out last October. However, jobs in exporting firms (including foreign-owned), tourism and transport, in September were below the level in mid-2008 based …

  • Global Economy 2016: Fragility in US and China dims optimism

    Global Economy 2016: Poor manufacturing and construction data published in the US Monday which followed reports from China of a continuing shrinkage in factory activity, triggered sharp cuts in forecasts for US fourth quarter GDP (gross domestic produc…

  • Irish house prices up 3% in Dublin in 2015 – up 20%+ in other cities

    Irish house prices rose by an average of 8.5% during 2015, according to the latest House Price Report released today by Daft.ie, the property web service. This national average hides a significant difference between Dublin, where prices rose by just 2.7%, and the rest of the country, where the average increase was 13.1%. The national average asking price in the final quarter of 2015 was €204,000, compared to €188,000 a year ago and €164,000 at its lowest point in early 2013. In the other main cities prices rose at least 20%.

  • CRH, Ryanair, BOI, Kerry account for 66% of value of Irish shares

    The Irish Stock Exchange’s ISEQ index rose 30% in 2015 to close at 6,791.68 making Dublin one of Europe’s top stock market performers. However with 58 issues overall including ones of foreign origin, only four firms — CRH (its primary listing is in London), Ryanair, BOI (Bank of Ireland) and Kerry — accounted for 66% of market capitalisation.

  • China’s manufacturing shrinks, Japan, Korea expands, India skids

    Two purchasing managers’ index (PMI) surveys show that China’s manufacturing contracted again in December while manufacturing activity in Japan and South Korea expanded but India’s manufacturing shrunk.

  • Kenny’s full-employment flip-flop fools Irish media again

    Following the announcement in January 2015 by Enda Kenny, taoiseach, that a full-employment target would be brought forward to 2018, Finfacts reported that Kenny had used fiddled figures and the Department of the Taoiseach had subsequently effectively …

  • Irish environmental vandalism and Bandon flooding

    The El Niño weather pattern not only has a seasonal name (from the 18th century Peruvian fisherman observed an irregular warm current that would appear around Christmas and they called it El Niño de Navidad, the “little Christmas boy” or “Christ child”), it links my current location in Kuala Lumpur with my hometown of Bandon, Ireland (there is a Bandon in the US state of Oregon which was founded by settlers from its Irish namesake). While extreme weather has been a factor in the increased frequency of flooding in Bandon, the town is also another Irish victim of common environmental vandalism, in particular during the Celtic Tiger bubble period.

  • Finfacts 2015 highlights: Irish, Europe, Global economy + innovation

    As usual the year has been a mix of good and bad news with the climate change agreement signed by 195 nations in Paris this December, being a positive start to a rocky path to an “aggregate emission pathways consistent with holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above preindustrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C.” In Europe this year, the European Central Bank bond-buying program gave a moderate boost to the Euro Area economy in 2015 with the headline unemployment rate in October at 10.8% and the EU28 rate at 9.3% while Ireland’s rate was 8.9% (the broad rate was 19%) — the US rates in November were 5% and 9.9%.

  • Political crap says Apple’s Cook on tax dodging – is he lying?

    In a Friday advance release of a snippet of an interview to be aired in the United States by the CBS 60 Minutes program on Sunday, a rattled Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, calls claims of overseas tax dodging “political crap” and he criticises the US Congress…

  • ESRI wants Irish land tax – not overall remedy for housing crisis

    The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in its latest quarterly economic commentary has called for an Irish land tax similar to Denmark’s, to reduce the incentive for developers to hoard land as prices rise. That would be a useful measure — China charges the equivalent of 20% of land price to owners who leave urban property undeveloped for a year; after two years, the land can be confiscated! — but in itself it would only be another band-aid measure for the housing crisis in Dublin.

  • Fed raises key interest rate – rates to remain low for many years

    The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised its key short-term interest rate — the federal funds rate — for the first time since 2006, ending the near zero rates that have been in place since 2008. However interest rates may remain low compared with the pre 2008 recession times, for many years.

  • Modern slavery and people trafficking in Thailand and Ireland

    Last month Nestlé of Switzerland, the world’s biggest food company, acknowledged that its seafood sourcing in Thailand was from companies that use practices commonly termed modern-day slavery. Also in November, the Guardian newspaper exposed the use of migrant trafficking and forced labour in the Irish fishing industry — this is not an aberration in Ireland as Finfacts has in the past exposed the Irish language school racket where agents in places like India profit from the promise of a better life in Europe.

  • Germany’s fertility highest since reunification – but world’s lowest

    Germany’s fertility rate rose in 2014 to the highest level since reunification in 1990 but it remains among world’s lowest according to a report Wednesday from Destatis, the federal statistics office. Destatis said that the total fertility rate in Germany amounted to 1.47 children per woman in 2014. The fertility rate increased for the third time in a row. In 2013, it amounted to just under 1.42. Hence 56 more babies were born per 1,000 women in 2014 compared with a year earlier. The stable population birth rate is about 2.1.

  • Ireland’s defence of Apple in EU state aid tax case is a sham

    The news that the European Commission’s competition unit has requested more information on Apple Inc.’s special tax arrangements with Ireland means that the ongoing state aid investigation will not be concluded until 2016. Ireland would gain billions of euros from an adverse finding but the Irish Government says it would appeal such a ruling to the European Court of Justice — this is what Americans would call political Kabuki, evoking the classical Japanese dance-drama. However, in deference to the people of Japan, Kabuki has substance behind the elaborate moves.

  • Irish working-age disability recipients up 40% in 2006-2014

    Ireland’s disability allowance is a means-tested welfare payment made to qualified residents between the age 16-65 (the payments switches to a pension on the 66th birthday) — see here for rules — and the number of people paid the allowance has risen from 110,000 in 2006 to 154,000 in 2014 — a jump of 40%. However, at 5% of the working age population in 2014, Ireland’s rate is lower than several other Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) developed countries.

  • Irish Economy: Built to last or foundation of quicksand 2005 – 2015?

    Irish Economy: Ten years ago this week we asked the same question in an article headline as we do today. It was a time of optimism: almost 100,000 new jobs had been created in 2004; Citigroup, the US financial services giant, was the 2005 Irish Exporter of the Year, and in June of that year Thomas Friedman, chief foreign affairs columnist of The New York Times, wrote: “How Ireland went from the sick man of Europe to the rich man in less than a generation is an amazing story” — in 2006 we warned that the “outlook for the Celtic Tiger beyond 2008 looks uncertain, there is a sense that the significant opportunities to reform and modernise the economy to better withstand future challenges, have been wasted.”

  • Irish GDP and GNP grow 7% and 5.6% in 9 months to Sept 2015

    The Irish economy has grown strongly in the nine months to Sept 2015, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office today. However, the headline growth may be overstating real growth due to tax inversion and overseas contracting distortio…

  • Dublin house rents near boom peak; Rents and wages too low

    Dublin house/ residential rents are close to the 2007 boomtime peak that followed a year (2006) when the number of housing units built in Ireland was at an all-time record high of 93,000. The number of residential units completed in 2014 was low at 11,…

  • Irish Innovation 2020 Strategy Report: Wish list based on distorted data

    The ‘Innovation 2020 – Ireland’s Strategy for Research and Development, Science and Technology’ document launched by Enda Kenny, taoiseach, on Tuesday is not a strategy but a politically-driven brochure of aspirations prefaced by the words ‘we will’ 14…

  • European Venture Capital: Governments fill funding gap

    European venture capital (VC) investments are on a healthy upward trend, returns and money multiples are growing, innovation hubs are emerging, and serial entrepreneurs are flourishing. However, European fund-raising has steadily slowed, while governme…

  • The next recession, low interest rates, the Fed and ECB’s Draghi

    The stock of Euro Area government bonds trading at negative yields at the end of November, was valued at more than €1.9tn — or approximately one third of the total market — according to the latest Bank for International Settlements (BIS) quarterly report, published Sunday. On Friday in New York following Thursday’s market disappointment with an extension of the monthly purchase of €60bn worth of bonds in the market by six months to March 2017, Mario Draghi, ECB president, made an emphatic statement that the central bank had “the power to act, the determination to act and the commitment to act” to meet its mandate of annual headline inflation of about 2%.

  • US adds 211,000 in November, broad jobless rate at 9.9%

    US nonfarm payroll employment rose by 211,000 in November, and the headline unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.0%. Job gains occurred in construction, professional and technical services, and health care. Employment declined in mining and information…

  • France’s 8% effective tax rate only for small and very big firms

    Corporate tax revenues have been falling across Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries since the global economic crisis, putting greater pressure on individual taxpayers to ensure that governments meet financing requirem…

  • Irish broad rate of unemployment at 19% in November

    The Irish broad rate of unemployment was at 19% in November 2015 with the numbers on the Live Register at a seasonally adjusted total of 330,000. Coupled with the 80,600 people who participate in public funded activation schemes, the total in receipt o…

  • Irish Exchequer Returns: Corporation tax up €2.3bn on target

    Irish Exchequer Returns for the 11 months to November show that corporation tax was up €2.3bn on the 2015 target and €2.2bn up on 2014 while overall tax revenues of €41.9bn were €2.9bn above target. Receipts were €3.8bn or 10% ahead of the same period in 2014.

  • Facebook’s Zuckerberg: No income tax, no fortune for charity

    Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan this week created a stir when they were reported to have pledged to give away 99% of their shares in the company — worth according to themselves $45bn — to good causes, when they announced the birth of their daughter Max (Maxima). Amidst all the bad news this good news got a lot of attention and it may seem churlish to undermine it. However, the truth is that the Facebook founder effectively pays no income tax and the shares are not being given to a charity.

  • China’s milestone as IMF declares renminbi a reserve currency

    China achieved a significant economic milestone Monday, when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) added the renminbi (RMB) to its basket of reserve currencies, a move that is likely to result in financial reforms in the world’s second-biggest economy. The Chinese currency, the renminbi (RMB), is to be included in the basket of currencies which make up the IMF’s Special Drawing Right, or SDR – “Renminbi” is the official name of the currency introduced by the Communist People’s Republic of China in 1949 and it means “the people’s currency” in Mandarin while “yuán” is the name of a unit of the renminbi. Something for example may cost one yuan or 10 yuán not 10 renminbi.

  • Euro Area jobless rate dips to 10.7%; Germany at 4.5%, Greece at 24.6%

    The Euro Area (EA19) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10.7% in October 2015, down from 10.8% in September 2015, and from 11.5% in October 2014. This is the lowest rate recorded in the Euro Area since January 2012. The EU28 unemployment rate wa…

  • Prescription drugs most expensive in US; Ireland a top spender

    The US pays the highest prices for prescription drugs and while Pfizer, the US pharmaceutical firm, says it is moving its tax residency to Ireland because of high taxes in the US and in each of the past five years managed to declare losses there, never…

  • Irish manufacturing PMI dipped slightly in November

    Irish manufacturing PMI activity dipped slightly in November with further sharp rises in new orders feeding through to higher output, employment and purchasing activity. Input costs continued to decrease in the latest survey period, but manufacturers r…

  • China’s manufacturing activity fell again in November; Japan’s rises

    China’s manufacturing activity fell again in November while there a rise in the PMI (purchasing manager’s index) in Japan, stagnation in India and a fall in South Korea. China’s official PMI, which tracks big state enterprises, fell to 49.6 in November, down from the previous month’s reading of 49.8. A level below the 50-mark indicates contraction in the sector, while one above suggests growth.

  • World’s nations gather in Paris for climate change conference

    The nations of the world gather on Monday in Paris to reach a new and universal climate change agreement, in the knowledge that they have already delivered an almost universal set of national responses to meet the long-term climate challenge before the conference even begins — there is of course a big difference between an aspiration and commitment. India is seen as an obstacle this time while China, which blocked a deal in Copenhagen in 2009, is now seen as positive as its citizens are increasingly concerned about air pollution. The conference is due to conclude on 11 Dec.

  • Irish fisheries industry and myth of EU stealing our fish

    It is striking that the policy of protecting Irish industry, which Éamon de Valera’s Fianna Fáil was implementing in 1933 coincided with the ending of Prohibition in the United States, but by the early 1960s, the Irish whiskey and fisheries industries were struggling and both were insignificant exporters. Today there is resentment in fishing communities about European Union (EU) quotas and conservation measures (including a requirement to land all fish caught) while there is also an enduring myth that other European countries are having a free fish lunch at Ireland’s expense.

  • EU farm numbers plunge 27% in decade; Ireland only riser

    Farm numbers in the European Union plunged 27% in the period 2003-2013 according to Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency on Thursday. Ireland was the only EU28 member country that showed a rise in holdings.

  • Irish farmers and Ireland’s struggle with transparency

    The resignation of the president of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) over revelations about the extraordinary pay, pensions and severance package for the general secretary of the lobbying organisation — effectively the chief administrator/ bureaucrat — highlights again the struggle in Ireland with providing transparency that has traditionally protected insiders.

  • UK chancellor gets boost from Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book

    George Osborne, the UK chancellor, on Wednesday presented the Autumn Statement on the government’s fiscal plans to the House of Commons and he had been delivered two unexpected gifts to take the sting from what would typically have been dubbed a “humiliating climbdown” or “U-turn” by the Opposition and political commentators: 1) The independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast before any changes, an unexpected cumulative reduction in net borrowing of £27bn up to 2020-21 compared with summer forecasts, due to a jump in tax receipts 2) John McDonnell, the Labour shadow chancellor, quoted from Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book — a popular 1960s appendage of well-off student revolutionaries in the West at a time when the Chinese Communist leader was engaged in a Cultural Revolution that brought chaos to the country. McDonnell flung his copy of Mao’s quotations across the Table of the House, literally handing Osborne an opportunity to make a joke at his expense.

  • Pfizer and Apple’s effective tax rates misleading fictions

    Pfizer and Apple’s published US effective tax rates are fictions which give a false impression of the tax payments that they make to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

  • Over a third Irish owner-occupiers without mortgages

    Over a third of Irish households are owner-occupiers without mortgages compared with 27% in the UK, 8% in Sweden and the Netherlands; 56% in Italy; 47% in Spain and 82% in Bulgaria, according to data published Monday by Eurostat, the EU statistics office — the poorer the country the higher the ratio. Data for Ireland is from 2013 and for 26 other members of the EU28 it is from 2014.

  • Economist Intelligence Unit launches tool to empower exporters

    Market Explorer is claimed to be a unique online tool that allows companies focused on market scanning and forecasting to immediately see which countries and cities offer the greatest opportunities for their products and services, now and in the future.

  • Decline in China’s industrial imports not offset by rising services

    Rising growth in China’s services sector doesn’t generate enough demand for foreign goods to offset the decline from a slowing industrial sector, according to research published Monday by the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank.

  • Pfizer: World’s new giant drugs firm to be Irish for tax savings

    Pfizer & Tax: Pfizer, the US drugs giant, which is one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical firms, is to become Irish for tax purposes and will be Ireland’s biggest company — dwarfing the value of Irish companies such as CRH and Ryanair. Ireland’s national accounts will be further distorted by companies that are mainly run from the US but hold board meetings in Dublin.

  • Nordics tops for financial literacy; Ireland lags UK, Germany

    In what is claimed as one of the most extensive measurements of global financial literacy to date, the Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services Global Financial Literacy Survey (S&P Global FinLit Survey) released this week finds that two-thirds of ad…

  • Angela Merkel: Ten years as chancellor at a time of peril

    On Sunday (22 Nov) Angela Merkel will be chancellor of Germany for ten years and until this year her governing style has been viewed as risk averse but for the first time, her bold move in early September to open Germany’s borders to war refugees, is s…

  • Irish Legal Services Reform: Kenny & Burton hoist the white flag

    Five years to the month after the Irish Government made a commitment in the 2010 international bailout agreement to introduce legal services reforms, and 25 years after the Fair Trade Commission recommended the ending of the ban on direct access by the public to barristers, Frances Fitzgerald, justice minister, said Wednesday: “This Government is delivering on long-overdue reforms”— this claim is “an oeconomy of truth” as Edmund Burke wrote of a contemporary issue in 1796 (the usage of oeconomy was later overtaken by the word economy). In the vernacular it is a lie as the minister has produced the feeble excuse for the non-reform that Enda Kenny, taoiseach, desired and which is bizarrely supported by his deputy, Joan Burton, who is also the Labour Party leader.

  • Jobs in Irish exporting firms down 30,000 since Q2 2008

    Jobs in Irish exporting firms at the end of September 2015 were down 30,000 compared with the second quarter (Q2) of 2008, according to the latest quarterly employment data published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on Tuesday.

  • Extremists in Europe & US see gain from barring refugees

    Right-wing political extremists in Europe and the US are targeting Syrian war refugees following last Friday’s terrorists attacks in Paris.  “We must not make the mistake of equating refugees with terrorists,” Ursula Von der Leyen, German defence minister, told the Monday edition of the German newspaper “Passauer Neue Presse,” according to Deutsche Welle, the German external broadcaster.

  • US Tax Reform Failure- Warns EU with never-used 82-year-old law

    It is almost 30 years since President Ronald Reagan signed a major US tax reform bill into law and since the late 1990s in particular, the corporate tax system has been massively abused by large American multinational firms. From early 2009, President …

  • Global economy data remains poor amidst some optimism

    On Tuesday leading indicators published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) showed that based on January data, economic activity continued to point to continuing slowdowns in the US, the UK, Canada and Russia, with addit…

  • Women earned on average 16% less than men in the EU in 2014

    Women earned on average 16% less than men in the EU in 2014. Estonia had the highest gap at 28%, Germany was third highest at 22% while there was no data for Ireland and Greece.

  • US, Singapore top destinations for Chinese investment in 2015

    The US and Singapore are once again the most attractive destinations for Chinese outbound investment. This is the key finding of the 2015 China Going Global Index (GGI), published this year by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

  • Switzerland, Netherlands, Nordics lead 2015 patents to population

    The European Patent Office reported in its annual report published last week that the inventiveness of Europe’s leading economies is reflected in the ratio of European patent applications filed to population and Switzerland again topped the ranking in …

  • Euro Area retail sales rise; Composite PMI at 13-month low

    Euro Area retail sales rose in January according to Eurostat today but composite PMI (purchasing managers’ index) survey data for February comprising activity in both manufacturing and services, fell to a 13-month low while French data fell below the n…

  • Irish pension fund returns negative in 2016 and past 12 months

    The volatility in global markets in the first two months of 2016 has resulted in negative returns for Irish pensions and the performance over the past 12 months was also in the red.

  • Exports not a significant jobs engine for Irish economy

    Later this month complete export data for 2015 will be released and after a total vale of €215bn in 2014, the value in 2015 may have been up to €250bn with indigenous exports including tourism and transport accounting for less than €30bn. While the total export value of €158bn in 2007 is not directly comparable with more recent data because of a change in methodology, still the increase would be enough to have official spinners and their yarn merchants salivating on superlatives. However, not only should last Friday’s election washout for the governing parties lead to a questioning of the relentless public propaganda using distorted data but there is also a reality that exports are not a significant jobs engine for the Irish economy.

  • Irish Election 2016: A comeback for Lazarus and the Hidden Ireland!

    The conventional wisdom that at least Fine Gael, the senior party in the outgoing governing coalition government, would reap the benefit of the Irish economic recovery in last Friday’s general election, has been upended. As the count proceeds, Fianna Fáil, the architect of the property-fuelled boom and bust, has almost matched the Fine Gael vote, and after its near death experience in the 2011 general election, the once long-dominant political party can claim to have made one of the political comebacks that for political journalists at least merits comparison with Lazarus, the biblical character.

  • Brexit: UK economy in much better health since 1973

    Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary for long took pleasure in tweaking the tails of the fat cats of the establishment but as some British business leaders this week shied away from taking a public stance on Brexit — the shorthand that combines the words Britain and exit from the European Union, which British voters will decide on via a referendum on 23 June, 2016 — O’Leary made a strong call for an anti-Brexit vote.

  • France is seeking €1.6 billion in back taxes from Google

    France is seeking €1.6bn in back taxes from Google, the US Internet search giant, according to a source at the finance ministry in Paris, reported by Reuters on Wednesday. In London also on Wednesday, the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said in a report that a settlement by Google with the HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) that was announced last month “seems disproportionately small when compared with the size of Google’s business in the UK, reinforcing our concerns that the rules governing where corporation tax is paid by multinational companies do not produce a fair outcome.”

  • Only 5,000 jobs added in Irish economy in fourth quarter of 2015

    Jobs growth in the Irish economy slowed sharply in the fourth quarter of 2015 with just under 5,000 jobs added in the period. The CSO reported today that there was an annual increase in employment of 2.3% or 44,100 in the year to the fourth quarter of 2015, bringing total employment to 1,983,000. On a seasonally adjusted basis, employment increased by 4,700 (+0.2%) over the previous quarter. This follows on from a seasonally adjusted increase in employment of 9,600 (+0.5%) in Q3 2015.

  • Global sea levels rose faster in 20th century in 2,800 years

    Global sea levels rose faster in the 20th century than in any of the other 27 in 2,800 years, according to a Rutgers University-led study published Monday in the United States. Moreover, without global warming, global sea levels would have risen by les…

  • German SMEs protest against EU-US TTIP trade/ investments talks

    Resumption of trade and investment talks between the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) prompted a protest against the planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement with representatives of German SMEs (small and me…

  • Enda Kenny angry with Ireland’s parish-pump whingers & dissenters

    Enda Kenny, taoiseach, at the weekend speaking in Castlebar, his hometown in Western Ireland, made a gaffe by describing locals who don’t share his sunny optimism about the Irish economy as “All-Ireland champion whingers.” After 40 years in national po…

  • Calls for helicopter money as central banks exhaust money printing

    This week Ray Dalio, the founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, which has some $155bn in funds under management, said that current unconventional efforts to raise economic growth through bond buying in the markets, which is called quantitative easing or more commonly money printing, have lost their potency and central banks may have to resort to radical measures such as “helicopter money.” On Thursday the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) — a think tank for 34 mainly developed country governments — said governments must act “urgently” and “collectively” to raise spending in advanced economies as it cut its growth forecasts against a backdrop falling trade and market turmoil. The OECD reduced growth estimates for every member of the G7 group of leading industrial nations — the US, Japan, Germany, France, UK, and Canada.

  • Irish General Election: What if Enda Kenny told the truth?

    Irish General Election: “The road to power is paved with hypocrisy and casualties. Never regret,” says the Frank Underwood character, played by Kevin Spacey in the American version of ‘House of Cards.’ On 9 March 2011, Enda Kenny set a high bar for his new government on honesty but high principle soon gave way to what has become conventional in modern times: pervasive spin — a convenient euphemism for manipulation and lies.

  • Sun sets on decades of high growth in US, Europe & Asia

    In recent days we have had data which show weak late 2015 growth or shrinkage in the Euro Area and Japan, while last month it was reported that the US economy grew at an annualised rate of 0.7% in the final three months of the 2015. Coupled with the ec…

  • Returning Irish needed to fill workforce’s big skills gap

    For a second time in a quarter century returning skilled Irish emigrants are seen as essential to fill a skills gaps in the workforce — again it’s easier than addressing the enduring skills gap at home.

  • Euro Area grows 0.3% in Q4 2015 — Italy, Austria stagnate

    Seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.3% in both the Euro Area (EA19) and the EU28 during the fourth quarter of 2015, compared with the previous quarter, according to a flash estimate published Friday by Eurostat, the statistics office of the European Union.

  • Keeping Irish economic recovery going? Policy or prayer?

    “Let’s keep the recovery going” is the Fine Gael slogan of the general election but apart from hoping that prayer or luck would end the current turmoil on global markets, Fine Gael does not say how it would respond to a dip in growth in key markets bec…

  • In record year Swedish multinational closes Irish pension scheme

    A Swedish multinational closed its Irish pension scheme in 2012 — a record year for group profits — and the opportunistic move in Ireland was not because of a collapse in investment values after the bubble burst but because during the boom years the Irish subsidiary delivered bumper dividends to Stockholm while its pension scheme was underfunded.

  • Germany’s record trade surplus in 2015; US, UK, France in deficit

    On Tuesday Germany announced a new record trade surplus for 2015 while the US, UK and France posted another year of trade deficits. China reported a surplus last month and Japan reported its fifth straight deficit despite plunging oil prices.

  • Dublin properties for rent plunge to low of 1,400 in 2016

    Irish house rents rose nationwide by an average of 9.0% during 2015, according to the latest quarterly Rental Report by Daft.ie. This compares to an increase of 10.7% in 2014 and 6.7% in 2013. The national average rent between October and December was €979, compared to €898 a year previously. Supply of properties for rent remains very low with just 1,400 rental homes on the market this month.

  • Irish General Election: Media needs to challenge status quo

    The 2011 Irish General Election was inevitably about the short-term following the bursting of the economic bubble. This time, Enda Kenny, taoiseach, has ensured that the 2016 election is a traditional short-term focus election campaign with the main arguments on taxes, bribes for voters and related budget issues, while the mainstream media also maintains a passive traditional role in being a facilitator for the politicians rather than a catalyst in forcing them to address challenges facing Ireland beyond the 2021 horizon of the 32nd Dáil Éireann.

  • Just 10 firms paid 50% of record Irish corporation tax in 2015

    Irish corporation tax receipts jumped by almost 50% in 2015 and only 10 firms accounted for about 50% of receipts in the year — a windfall for the Exchequer resulted in a rise in receipts from €4.6bn in 2014 to €6.9bn in 2015. In 2014 Finfacts estimated that about 40 American firms accounted for two-thirds of Ireland’s headline exports in 2013.

  • 406,000 dole claimants in 2016, broad Irish jobless rate at 18%

    The seasonally-adjusted total on the Irish Live Register and in public activation jobs schemes was at 405,509 in the first month of 2016 according to the CSO today. The broad jobless rate was 18% compared with the narrow rate of 8.6% based on the Inter…

  • Irish pension funds returns fell about 4% in January 2016

    A slide in share prices in January 2016 resulted in a monthly fall of about 4% in the returns of Irish pensions funds.

  • US giant firms and Europe’s new response to tax fraud

    Just over 5 years ago citizen activism against corporate tax evasion/ avoidance began when mainly women in a group called UK Uncut began occupying the high profile London retail stores of the Arcadia group such as Topshop, BHS, Burton, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins, controlled by Sir Philip Green, one of Britain’s richest men, who had given a £1.2bn tax-free dividend to his wife — a resident of Monaco. Last week, Rupert Murdoch, another billionaire, said strong new laws were required to prevent small local businesses from being ruined by global tech companies paying “token” taxes.

  • Ireland second-highest OECD health spending, poorest outcomes

    Ireland has the second-highest health spending ratio in OECD area which comprises of 34 mainly developed countries but it has some of the worst health outcomes among advanced countries.

  • Irish Banking Inquiry 2016: Delayed wisdom, glacial change

    Irish Banking Inquiry 2016: The publication of a parliamentary report on the banking crash 7 years and 4 months following the decision of Ireland’s government on 30 September 2008 to provide a state guarantee for both the debts of domestic banks and de…

  • Global House Prices: Dublin prices seriously unaffordable

    An annual survey of house prices in several global locations has rated Dublin prices as seriously unaffordable while Limerick has the most affordable housing costs of all markets surveyed.

  • 60% of Irish private workers have no jobs pension

    60% of Irish private workers have no jobs pension while there is a 100% coverage and special pension provisions for politicians, and 100% coverage for public sector workers. Last year pension payments rose for former politicians and it’s not surprising…

  • Tax: Irish Government angry at unfair EU treatment of Apple

    Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, visited the European Commission’s offices in Brussels Thursday to lobby for in effect an amnesty in the investigation of the electronics giant’s special or unusual tax arrangements using Irish companies to avoid/ evade massive am…

  • Irish media sustains distorting politics of jobs spin

    Fine Gael this week effectively acknowledged that Enda Kenny, taoiseach, lied in January 2015 when he reported a false total for recession job losses (see below). On Wednesday the Government’s jobs publicity machine generated 30 reports in the Irish media on announcements of up to 1,500 jobs that maybe created in 5 years (no company will guarantee what payroll it would have in 5 years) while also Wednesday in the Dáil, two Opposition spokespersons put questions to Richard Bruton, jobs and enterprise minister, on jobs targets and the politics of jobs spin. The proceedings in which Bruton trashed the credibility of Department of Finance economists, generated 1 media report (same report in 2 outlets).

  • Global unemployment set to rise 4.8m in 2016/ 2017 as growth dips

    Global unemployment is forecast to rise 4.8m in 2016/ 2017 despite high total unemployment of 197.1m in 2015, which was 27m higher than the pre-crisis level of 2007. Continuing high rates of unemployment worldwide and chronic vulnerable employment in m…

  • France’s Hollande to add 500,000 fake jobs to cut jobless rate

    On Monday François Hollande, French president, proclaimed an economic and social emergency (‘un état d’urgence économique et social’) and the creation of 500,000 fake jobs is the main item of a number of measures that he announced to business and trade union leaders. With a presidential election due in 15 months, Hollande has said in the past that he would not seek reelection if unemployment is higher than when he took office in May 2012 — the harmonised jobless rate was at 9.7% in Q2 2012 and last November it was at 10.1%.

  • China’s 2015 official growth rate lowest in 25 years

    China has announced its official growth rate for 2015 which is the lowest in a quarter century but some economic commentators suggest that the real rate was lower.

  • Shrinking US workforce triggers decline in business startups

    Young US firms up to five years old account for most new job creation in the economy but the rate of formation of employer startups (firms that employ staff other than the founders) has both fallen sharply in recent decades while the number of employee…

  • Communist China has very high level of income inequality

    Communist China has one of the world’s highest levels of income inequality, with the richest 1% of households owning a third of the country’s wealth, a study produced by Peking University has found.

  • Germany full-employment, best budget surplus in 15 years

    Germany’s finance ministry this week reported a 2015 budget surplus that is double the original target and the result of record tax revenues and one-off effects. Wolfgang Schäuble, finance minister, said that he would allocate the surplus of €12bn to refugee costs — the surplus gross domestic product ratio was 0.5%.

  • Irish food/ drinks exports in 2015 – far below potential

    Another Irish public agency had a good news story to tell on Wednesday on performance in 2015 with many superlatives deployed to please ministers. Media headlines have noted that Irish food and drinks exports rose to a record in the year and it certain…

  • China’s foreign trade surplus rises 56.7% in 2015, imports fall

    China’s foreign trade surplus widened to 元3.69tn yuan/ renminbi ($562bn) in 2015, an increase of 56.7% from a year earlier, customs data showed on Wednesday.

  • Lagarde says emerging world facing new reality on growth

    Christine Lagarde, IMF managing director, said Tuesday that after years of success, emerging and developing countries are now confronted with a new reality. Growth rates are down, and cyclical and structural forces have undermined the traditional growt…

  • Ireland not only country with dodgy unemployment data

    The US has published two monthly rates of unemployment since the mid 1990s and in Europe Jacques Freyssinet (b.1937), the prominent French labour economist, has succeeded in having what he calls “halo du chômage” or unemployment halo — unemployed people seeking work who are not included in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) definition of unemployed — included in official data. Official training programmes also give an opportunity to massage the data and in Ireland Enda Kenny, taoiseach, has announced a bogus full-employment target.

  • War and Peace: Tolstoy’s rejection of the ‘Great Man’ theory

    Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910: Lev Nikolayevich, Graf [count] Tolstoy, in Russian], one of the world’s greatest novelists, is currently getting general attention because of the BBC’s adaptation of his epic and monumental novel War and Peace, which was written in 1865–1869. It is set in the period from 1805 to 1820 and describes the war between Russia and France through 1812. The book also contains an analysis of leadership that has resonance today, and Tolstoy rejects the notion that great men were instrumental in achieving success or failure in history.

  • Irish standard of living below EU28, Euro Area and Italian averages

    The Irish standard of living per capita is below the averages for the European Union (EU28), the Euro Area (EA19), and struggling Italy, according to data published in December 2015 by Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office.

  • US adds 292,000 jobs in December 2015, Broad jobless rate at 10%

    US nonfarm payroll employment increased by 292,000 in December, and the unemployment rate held at 5.0%. Job growth occurred in several industries, led by professional and business services, construction, health care, and food services and drinking plac…

  • Irish dole claims end 2015 at 410,000, Broad jobless rate at 19%

    The number of Irish unemployment benefit claims at the end of 2015 amounted to 410,000 comprising 329,000 on the Live Register and 81,000 in publicly funded activation schemes, according to CSO data published Thursday. The broad jobless rate based on a…

  • Firms in Japan, US, France account for 85% of Top 100 innovators

    Firms in Japan, US and France account for 85% of the Top 100 innovators in the global corporate world according to Thomson Reuters. The selection is based on an analysis of overall patent volume, patent-grant success rates, global reach and invention i…

  • UK Economy: Osborne warns of global risks and complacency

    UK Economy: George Osborne, UK chancellor, is expected to warn Thursday of a “dangerous cocktail” of global threats faces the British economy this year. He also will warn that complacency about the economy is starting to take hold.

  • World Bank sees small rise in 2016 growth- BRICS pose risk

    The World Bank in a report published in Washington DC on Wednesday, warns that a simultaneous slowdown in the leading emerging economies, would have a serious impact on global growth prospects. Bigger contractions than expected in Brazil and Russia and…

  • Average annual returns on Irish pension funds at 10% in 2015

    December was a month of falling share prices but in 2015 average annual returns on Irish pension funds were up to 10%.  The average managed fund return has been a very strong 13.8% per annum over the past three years. The five-year average return is a healthy 10.3% per annum. Irish group pension managed fund returns over the past ten years have been 4.7% per annum on average.

  • Irish export firms add 10,000 jobs – exporting jobs below 2008

    Irish-owned exporting firms added a net 10,169 jobs in 2015 according to a survey that was carried out last October. However, jobs in exporting firms (including foreign-owned), tourism and transport, in September were below the level in mid-2008 based …

  • Global Economy 2016: Fragility in US and China dims optimism

    Global Economy 2016: Poor manufacturing and construction data published in the US Monday which followed reports from China of a continuing shrinkage in factory activity, triggered sharp cuts in forecasts for US fourth quarter GDP (gross domestic produc…

  • Irish house prices up 3% in Dublin in 2015 – up 20%+ in other cities

    Irish house prices rose by an average of 8.5% during 2015, according to the latest House Price Report released today by Daft.ie, the property web service. This national average hides a significant difference between Dublin, where prices rose by just 2.7%, and the rest of the country, where the average increase was 13.1%. The national average asking price in the final quarter of 2015 was €204,000, compared to €188,000 a year ago and €164,000 at its lowest point in early 2013. In the other main cities prices rose at least 20%.

  • CRH, Ryanair, BOI, Kerry account for 66% of value of Irish shares

    The Irish Stock Exchange’s ISEQ index rose 30% in 2015 to close at 6,791.68 making Dublin one of Europe’s top stock market performers. However with 58 issues overall including ones of foreign origin, only four firms — CRH (its primary listing is in London), Ryanair, BOI (Bank of Ireland) and Kerry — accounted for 66% of market capitalisation.

  • China’s manufacturing shrinks, Japan, Korea expands, India skids

    Two purchasing managers’ index (PMI) surveys show that China’s manufacturing contracted again in December while manufacturing activity in Japan and South Korea expanded but India’s manufacturing shrunk.

  • Kenny’s full-employment flip-flop fools Irish media again

    Following the announcement in January 2015 by Enda Kenny, taoiseach, that a full-employment target would be brought forward to 2018, Finfacts reported that Kenny had used fiddled figures and the Department of the Taoiseach had subsequently effectively …

  • Irish environmental vandalism and Bandon flooding

    The El Niño weather pattern not only has a seasonal name (from the 18th century Peruvian fisherman observed an irregular warm current that would appear around Christmas and they called it El Niño de Navidad, the “little Christmas boy” or “Christ child”), it links my current location in Kuala Lumpur with my hometown of Bandon, Ireland (there is a Bandon in the US state of Oregon which was founded by settlers from its Irish namesake). While extreme weather has been a factor in the increased frequency of flooding in Bandon, the town is also another Irish victim of common environmental vandalism, in particular during the Celtic Tiger bubble period.

  • Finfacts 2015 highlights: Irish, Europe, Global economy + innovation

    As usual the year has been a mix of good and bad news with the climate change agreement signed by 195 nations in Paris this December, being a positive start to a rocky path to an “aggregate emission pathways consistent with holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above preindustrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C.” In Europe this year, the European Central Bank bond-buying program gave a moderate boost to the Euro Area economy in 2015 with the headline unemployment rate in October at 10.8% and the EU28 rate at 9.3% while Ireland’s rate was 8.9% (the broad rate was 19%) — the US rates in November were 5% and 9.9%.

  • Political crap says Apple’s Cook on tax dodging – is he lying?

    In a Friday advance release of a snippet of an interview to be aired in the United States by the CBS 60 Minutes program on Sunday, a rattled Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, calls claims of overseas tax dodging “political crap” and he criticises the US Congress…

  • ESRI wants Irish land tax – not overall remedy for housing crisis

    The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in its latest quarterly economic commentary has called for an Irish land tax similar to Denmark’s, to reduce the incentive for developers to hoard land as prices rise. That would be a useful measure — China charges the equivalent of 20% of land price to owners who leave urban property undeveloped for a year; after two years, the land can be confiscated! — but in itself it would only be another band-aid measure for the housing crisis in Dublin.

  • Fed raises key interest rate – rates to remain low for many years

    The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised its key short-term interest rate — the federal funds rate — for the first time since 2006, ending the near zero rates that have been in place since 2008. However interest rates may remain low compared with the pre 2008 recession times, for many years.

  • Modern slavery and people trafficking in Thailand and Ireland

    Last month Nestlé of Switzerland, the world’s biggest food company, acknowledged that its seafood sourcing in Thailand was from companies that use practices commonly termed modern-day slavery. Also in November, the Guardian newspaper exposed the use of migrant trafficking and forced labour in the Irish fishing industry — this is not an aberration in Ireland as Finfacts has in the past exposed the Irish language school racket where agents in places like India profit from the promise of a better life in Europe.

  • Germany’s fertility highest since reunification – but world’s lowest

    Germany’s fertility rate rose in 2014 to the highest level since reunification in 1990 but it remains among world’s lowest according to a report Wednesday from Destatis, the federal statistics office. Destatis said that the total fertility rate in Germany amounted to 1.47 children per woman in 2014. The fertility rate increased for the third time in a row. In 2013, it amounted to just under 1.42. Hence 56 more babies were born per 1,000 women in 2014 compared with a year earlier. The stable population birth rate is about 2.1.

  • Ireland’s defence of Apple in EU state aid tax case is a sham

    The news that the European Commission’s competition unit has requested more information on Apple Inc.’s special tax arrangements with Ireland means that the ongoing state aid investigation will not be concluded until 2016. Ireland would gain billions of euros from an adverse finding but the Irish Government says it would appeal such a ruling to the European Court of Justice — this is what Americans would call political Kabuki, evoking the classical Japanese dance-drama. However, in deference to the people of Japan, Kabuki has substance behind the elaborate moves.

  • Irish working-age disability recipients up 40% in 2006-2014

    Ireland’s disability allowance is a means-tested welfare payment made to qualified residents between the age 16-65 (the payments switches to a pension on the 66th birthday) — see here for rules — and the number of people paid the allowance has risen from 110,000 in 2006 to 154,000 in 2014 — a jump of 40%. However, at 5% of the working age population in 2014, Ireland’s rate is lower than several other Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) developed countries.

  • Irish Economy: Built to last or foundation of quicksand 2005 – 2015?

    Irish Economy: Ten years ago this week we asked the same question in an article headline as we do today. It was a time of optimism: almost 100,000 new jobs had been created in 2004; Citigroup, the US financial services giant, was the 2005 Irish Exporter of the Year, and in June of that year Thomas Friedman, chief foreign affairs columnist of The New York Times, wrote: “How Ireland went from the sick man of Europe to the rich man in less than a generation is an amazing story” — in 2006 we warned that the “outlook for the Celtic Tiger beyond 2008 looks uncertain, there is a sense that the significant opportunities to reform and modernise the economy to better withstand future challenges, have been wasted.”

  • Irish GDP and GNP grow 7% and 5.6% in 9 months to Sept 2015

    The Irish economy has grown strongly in the nine months to Sept 2015, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office today. However, the headline growth may be overstating real growth due to tax inversion and overseas contracting distortio…

  • Dublin house rents near boom peak; Rents and wages too low

    Dublin house/ residential rents are close to the 2007 boomtime peak that followed a year (2006) when the number of housing units built in Ireland was at an all-time record high of 93,000. The number of residential units completed in 2014 was low at 11,…

  • Irish Innovation 2020 Strategy Report: Wish list based on distorted data

    The ‘Innovation 2020 – Ireland’s Strategy for Research and Development, Science and Technology’ document launched by Enda Kenny, taoiseach, on Tuesday is not a strategy but a politically-driven brochure of aspirations prefaced by the words ‘we will’ 14…

  • European Venture Capital: Governments fill funding gap

    European venture capital (VC) investments are on a healthy upward trend, returns and money multiples are growing, innovation hubs are emerging, and serial entrepreneurs are flourishing. However, European fund-raising has steadily slowed, while governme…

  • The next recession, low interest rates, the Fed and ECB’s Draghi

    The stock of Euro Area government bonds trading at negative yields at the end of November, was valued at more than €1.9tn — or approximately one third of the total market — according to the latest Bank for International Settlements (BIS) quarterly report, published Sunday. On Friday in New York following Thursday’s market disappointment with an extension of the monthly purchase of €60bn worth of bonds in the market by six months to March 2017, Mario Draghi, ECB president, made an emphatic statement that the central bank had “the power to act, the determination to act and the commitment to act” to meet its mandate of annual headline inflation of about 2%.

  • US adds 211,000 in November, broad jobless rate at 9.9%

    US nonfarm payroll employment rose by 211,000 in November, and the headline unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.0%. Job gains occurred in construction, professional and technical services, and health care. Employment declined in mining and information…

  • France’s 8% effective tax rate only for small and very big firms

    Corporate tax revenues have been falling across Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries since the global economic crisis, putting greater pressure on individual taxpayers to ensure that governments meet financing requirem…

  • Irish broad rate of unemployment at 19% in November

    The Irish broad rate of unemployment was at 19% in November 2015 with the numbers on the Live Register at a seasonally adjusted total of 330,000. Coupled with the 80,600 people who participate in public funded activation schemes, the total in receipt o…

  • Irish Exchequer Returns: Corporation tax up €2.3bn on target

    Irish Exchequer Returns for the 11 months to November show that corporation tax was up €2.3bn on the 2015 target and €2.2bn up on 2014 while overall tax revenues of €41.9bn were €2.9bn above target. Receipts were €3.8bn or 10% ahead of the same period in 2014.

  • Facebook’s Zuckerberg: No income tax, no fortune for charity

    Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan this week created a stir when they were reported to have pledged to give away 99% of their shares in the company — worth according to themselves $45bn — to good causes, when they announced the birth of their daughter Max (Maxima). Amidst all the bad news this good news got a lot of attention and it may seem churlish to undermine it. However, the truth is that the Facebook founder effectively pays no income tax and the shares are not being given to a charity.

  • China’s milestone as IMF declares renminbi a reserve currency

    China achieved a significant economic milestone Monday, when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) added the renminbi (RMB) to its basket of reserve currencies, a move that is likely to result in financial reforms in the world’s second-biggest economy. The Chinese currency, the renminbi (RMB), is to be included in the basket of currencies which make up the IMF’s Special Drawing Right, or SDR – “Renminbi” is the official name of the currency introduced by the Communist People’s Republic of China in 1949 and it means “the people’s currency” in Mandarin while “yuán” is the name of a unit of the renminbi. Something for example may cost one yuan or 10 yuán not 10 renminbi.

  • Euro Area jobless rate dips to 10.7%; Germany at 4.5%, Greece at 24.6%

    The Euro Area (EA19) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10.7% in October 2015, down from 10.8% in September 2015, and from 11.5% in October 2014. This is the lowest rate recorded in the Euro Area since January 2012. The EU28 unemployment rate wa…

  • Prescription drugs most expensive in US; Ireland a top spender

    The US pays the highest prices for prescription drugs and while Pfizer, the US pharmaceutical firm, says it is moving its tax residency to Ireland because of high taxes in the US and in each of the past five years managed to declare losses there, never…

  • Irish manufacturing PMI dipped slightly in November

    Irish manufacturing PMI activity dipped slightly in November with further sharp rises in new orders feeding through to higher output, employment and purchasing activity. Input costs continued to decrease in the latest survey period, but manufacturers r…

  • China’s manufacturing activity fell again in November; Japan’s rises

    China’s manufacturing activity fell again in November while there a rise in the PMI (purchasing manager’s index) in Japan, stagnation in India and a fall in South Korea. China’s official PMI, which tracks big state enterprises, fell to 49.6 in November, down from the previous month’s reading of 49.8. A level below the 50-mark indicates contraction in the sector, while one above suggests growth.

  • World’s nations gather in Paris for climate change conference

    The nations of the world gather on Monday in Paris to reach a new and universal climate change agreement, in the knowledge that they have already delivered an almost universal set of national responses to meet the long-term climate challenge before the conference even begins — there is of course a big difference between an aspiration and commitment. India is seen as an obstacle this time while China, which blocked a deal in Copenhagen in 2009, is now seen as positive as its citizens are increasingly concerned about air pollution. The conference is due to conclude on 11 Dec.

  • Irish fisheries industry and myth of EU stealing our fish

    It is striking that the policy of protecting Irish industry, which Éamon de Valera’s Fianna Fáil was implementing in 1933 coincided with the ending of Prohibition in the United States, but by the early 1960s, the Irish whiskey and fisheries industries were struggling and both were insignificant exporters. Today there is resentment in fishing communities about European Union (EU) quotas and conservation measures (including a requirement to land all fish caught) while there is also an enduring myth that other European countries are having a free fish lunch at Ireland’s expense.

  • EU farm numbers plunge 27% in decade; Ireland only riser

    Farm numbers in the European Union plunged 27% in the period 2003-2013 according to Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency on Thursday. Ireland was the only EU28 member country that showed a rise in holdings.

  • Irish farmers and Ireland’s struggle with transparency

    The resignation of the president of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) over revelations about the extraordinary pay, pensions and severance package for the general secretary of the lobbying organisation — effectively the chief administrator/ bureaucrat — highlights again the struggle in Ireland with providing transparency that has traditionally protected insiders.

  • UK chancellor gets boost from Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book

    George Osborne, the UK chancellor, on Wednesday presented the Autumn Statement on the government’s fiscal plans to the House of Commons and he had been delivered two unexpected gifts to take the sting from what would typically have been dubbed a “humiliating climbdown” or “U-turn” by the Opposition and political commentators: 1) The independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast before any changes, an unexpected cumulative reduction in net borrowing of £27bn up to 2020-21 compared with summer forecasts, due to a jump in tax receipts 2) John McDonnell, the Labour shadow chancellor, quoted from Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book — a popular 1960s appendage of well-off student revolutionaries in the West at a time when the Chinese Communist leader was engaged in a Cultural Revolution that brought chaos to the country. McDonnell flung his copy of Mao’s quotations across the Table of the House, literally handing Osborne an opportunity to make a joke at his expense.

  • Pfizer and Apple’s effective tax rates misleading fictions

    Pfizer and Apple’s published US effective tax rates are fictions which give a false impression of the tax payments that they make to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

  • Over a third Irish owner-occupiers without mortgages

    Over a third of Irish households are owner-occupiers without mortgages compared with 27% in the UK, 8% in Sweden and the Netherlands; 56% in Italy; 47% in Spain and 82% in Bulgaria, according to data published Monday by Eurostat, the EU statistics office — the poorer the country the higher the ratio. Data for Ireland is from 2013 and for 26 other members of the EU28 it is from 2014.

  • Economist Intelligence Unit launches tool to empower exporters

    Market Explorer is claimed to be a unique online tool that allows companies focused on market scanning and forecasting to immediately see which countries and cities offer the greatest opportunities for their products and services, now and in the future.

  • Decline in China’s industrial imports not offset by rising services

    Rising growth in China’s services sector doesn’t generate enough demand for foreign goods to offset the decline from a slowing industrial sector, according to research published Monday by the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank.

  • Pfizer: World’s new giant drugs firm to be Irish for tax savings

    Pfizer & Tax: Pfizer, the US drugs giant, which is one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical firms, is to become Irish for tax purposes and will be Ireland’s biggest company — dwarfing the value of Irish companies such as CRH and Ryanair. Ireland’s national accounts will be further distorted by companies that are mainly run from the US but hold board meetings in Dublin.

  • Nordics tops for financial literacy; Ireland lags UK, Germany

    In what is claimed as one of the most extensive measurements of global financial literacy to date, the Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services Global Financial Literacy Survey (S&P Global FinLit Survey) released this week finds that two-thirds of ad…

  • Angela Merkel: Ten years as chancellor at a time of peril

    On Sunday (22 Nov) Angela Merkel will be chancellor of Germany for ten years and until this year her governing style has been viewed as risk averse but for the first time, her bold move in early September to open Germany’s borders to war refugees, is s…

  • Irish Legal Services Reform: Kenny & Burton hoist the white flag

    Five years to the month after the Irish Government made a commitment in the 2010 international bailout agreement to introduce legal services reforms, and 25 years after the Fair Trade Commission recommended the ending of the ban on direct access by the public to barristers, Frances Fitzgerald, justice minister, said Wednesday: “This Government is delivering on long-overdue reforms”— this claim is “an oeconomy of truth” as Edmund Burke wrote of a contemporary issue in 1796 (the usage of oeconomy was later overtaken by the word economy). In the vernacular it is a lie as the minister has produced the feeble excuse for the non-reform that Enda Kenny, taoiseach, desired and which is bizarrely supported by his deputy, Joan Burton, who is also the Labour Party leader.

  • Jobs in Irish exporting firms down 30,000 since Q2 2008

    Jobs in Irish exporting firms at the end of September 2015 were down 30,000 compared with the second quarter (Q2) of 2008, according to the latest quarterly employment data published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on Tuesday.

  • Extremists in Europe & US see gain from barring refugees

    Right-wing political extremists in Europe and the US are targeting Syrian war refugees following last Friday’s terrorists attacks in Paris.  “We must not make the mistake of equating refugees with terrorists,” Ursula Von der Leyen, German defence minister, told the Monday edition of the German newspaper “Passauer Neue Presse,” according to Deutsche Welle, the German external broadcaster.