Syndicated News Archives - Page 2 of 297 - Manning & Co.

Oil jumps 3% towards $64 as US drone downed in Gulf

Oil jumps 3% towards $64 as US drone downed in Gulf

Oil rose more than 3% towards $64 a barrel today after Iran shot down a US military drone, raising fears of a military confrontation between Tehran and Washington.

Expectations that the US Federal Reserve could cut interest rates at its next meeting, stimulating growth in the world’s largest oil-consuming country, and a drop in US crude inventories also supported prices.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, was up $2.06 at $63.88 a barrel this afternoon, having earlier gained 3.4% to $63.93.

US West Texas Intermediate crude rose $2.33 to $56.09.

The drone was downed in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz by an Iranian surface-to-air missile, a US official said.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said the drone was flying over southern Iran.

Tension has been rising in the Middle East, home to over 20% of the world’s oil output, after attacks on two tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, a chokepoint for oil supplies.

Washington blamed Tehran for the tanker attacks. Iran denied any role.

Concern about slowing economic growth and a US-China trade dispute has pulled oil lower in recent weeks. Brent reached a 2019 high of $75 in April.

Also propelling oil higher today was a decline in US crude inventories and the prospect of prolonged supply restraint by producer group OPEC and its allies.

US crude stocks fell by 3.1 million barrels last week, more than analysts expected, the Energy Information Administration said yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia agreed this week to meet on July 1-2, ending a month of wrangling about the timing.

The coalition known as OPEC+ looks set to extend a deal on cutting 1.2 million barrels per day of production. The deal expires at the end of June.

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14.1% of Irish households have income above €100,000 – CSO

14.1% of Irish households have income above €100,000 – CSO

New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that median gross income for households stood at €45,256 in 2016.

The incomes ranged from a low of €32,259 in Donegal and €34,800 in Leitrim to a high of €66,203 in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and €58,795 in Fingal.

Meanwhile, households in Malahide had the highest median income of €78,631 of all 41 towns in Ireland with a population of 10,000 or over.

Celbridge had the second highest at €64,877 while Maynooth was third at €64,529.

The towns with the lowest medians were Longford at €29,224, Enniscorthy at €31,049 and Ballina with €32,779.

The CSO said its figures show that 62.6% of Irish households had a gross income of less than €60,000 in 2016, while only 14.1% had an income above €100,000.

The CSO noted that in 26.6% of households, social welfare payments made up more than half of the income.

Social welfare payments to people of working age made up more than half of the income in 13.7% of households while the state pension formed the majority of income in 12.9% of households.

Today’s CSO report also found that household incomes are impacted by factors such as gender, general health, education and the place and type of work undertaken.

Included in the findings from the CSO’s Geographical Profiles of Income in Ireland figures is the fact that the highest median earned income in 2016 was for the ICT, Scientific & Recreation sectors at €37,037.

The CSO also noted that about four euro in every ten earned by residents of Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal came from the Public Service, Education and Health sector.

It also found that households who were owner occupiers with a mortgage had the highest median income at €68,149 in 2016.

Households renting from a local authority had the lowest median income at €25,202, compared to households renting from a private landlord, who had a median income of €41,695.

And owner occupiers, where the house is owned outright, had a median income of €37,733. Most pensioners fall into this category, the CSO said.

Meanwhile, average rents made up more than 33% of household disposable income for tenants in South Dublin, the highest proportion in the country.

The lowest was 21.1% in Longford and compares to the state average of 29.

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Household deposits see biggest quarterly increase since 2008

Household deposits see biggest quarterly increase since 2008

Household deposits grew by €1.8 billion, or 1.8%, over the first quarter of 2019, new figures from the Central Bank show today.

The Central Bank said this marked the largest quarterly increase in household deposits since the fourth quarter of 2008 and comes despite the low interest rates people on getting on their savings.

In annual terms, household deposits continued to grow, increasing by €4.5 billion (4.7%) and marking the 18th consecutive quarter of annual growth.

The Central Bank noted that net new lending for house purchases was €1.1 billion in the year to the end of March – the largest annual increase since late 2009.

Meanwhile, other personal lending increased in net terms by €135m over the quarter.

According to the Central Bank, new lending exceeded drawdowns by €619m in the 12 months to the end of the first quarter of this year.

This was the largest annual increase in personal lending since third quarter of 2017, it added.

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Broadcasting regulator retains cap on radio ownership

Broadcasting regulator retains cap on radio ownership

A cap on the ownership of commercial radio stations has been maintained by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, despite calls from some stakeholders for its removal.

The BAI today published its revised policy on the ownership and control of Ireland’s broadcasters.

This sets out the criteria considered as part of a new licence application, or the proposed transfer of a service to different owners.

Included in that is a bar on an individual or group owning more than 25% of the country’s commercial radio services, something that has been retained in the 2019 update.

Some submissions received as part of the consultation process – from companies including Communicorp and The Wireless Group – called for the rule to be relaxed or removed entirely.

They argued that ownership should be considered in the context of all types of media, as opposed to solely radio, and said the growth of digital platforms made the existing cap less relevant than before.

In a statement the BAI said it had given “careful consideration” to those calls, however it remained of the view that the upper limit was “appropriate”.

The updated policy also sets out new criteria to consider when judging the character of those seeking ownership of a broadcast licence.

This includes looking at whether an individual has had adverse findings made against them in relation to tax, gross professional misconduct or anti-competitive conduct.

The BAI will also now consider whether there is “sufficient and demonstrable commitment to achieving and sustaining impartial, credible and independent journalism” as part of a broadcaster’s proposed news and current affairs programming.

Alongside its revised document on ownership the BAI also published its new Media Plurality Policy, which clarifies the measures taken by the association to promote a greater diversity of content and ownership amongst broadcasters.

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Euro zone inflation slowed to one-year low in May, Eurostat confirms

Euro zone inflation slowed to one-year low in May, Eurostat confirms

Inflation in the euro zone slowed to 1.2% in May, the lowest rate in more than a year, as price growth in the energy and services sectors slackened.

This is according to the European Union statistics agency, Eurostat, as it confirmed its earlier estimates.

The final data is bad news for the European Central Bank, which targets a rate below but close to 2% and has promised further action if inflation does not pick up.

Eurostat said prices in the 19-country currency bloc went up by 1.2% on the year, slowing from 1.7% in April.

It was the lowest growth rate since April 2018 when inflation was also recorded at 1.2%.

On the month, prices were nearly stable, posting a 0.1% increase that was below market forecasts of a 0.2% rise, new data released today by Eurostat showed.

Prices slowed despite a record increase in euro zone wage costs in the first quarter of the year.

The apparent inconsistency could partly be explained by the fact that higher wage costs for firms do not always translate into more cash for consumers as payroll taxes remain high in the bloc.

The ECB will need to ease policy again, possibly through new rate cuts or asset purchases, if inflation does not head back to its target, ECB President Mario Draghi said earlier today.

Eurostat confirmed that the core inflation measure the ECB looks at in policy decisions, which excludes the volatile components of food and energy, stood at 1% in May compared to 1.4% in April.

A narrower indicator, which also excludes alcohol and tobacco prices, slowed to 0.8% in May from 1.3% in the previous month, confirming earlier estimates.

Inflation was mostly dragged down by energy prices which increased 3.8% in May, after a 5.3% rise in April.

Inflation in the services sector, the largest in the euro zone economy, nearly halved to 1% from 1.9% in April, today’s figures show.

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Oil prices fall 1% as economic worries outweigh tanker tensions

Oil prices fall 1% as economic worries outweigh tanker tensions

Oil prices slipped more than 1% today as signs of an economic slowdown amid international trade disputes began to outweigh supply fears stoked by attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week.

Brent futures were down 68 cents, or 1.1%, to $61.33 a barrel today, having gained 1.1% on Friday.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 58 cents, or 1.1%, at $51.93, having firmed by 0.4% in the previous session.

“China’s industrial output growth (is) falling to the lowest level in 17 years amid trade tensions with the US. Today, oil markets will have to digest more demand concerns as India implemented retaliatory tariffs on a number of U.S. goods yesterday,” consultancy JBC Energy said in a note.

Also sapping prices was the dim outlook for oil demand growth in 2019 projected by the International Energy Agency (IEA) on Friday, citing worsening prospects for global trade.

Market expectations of a price rise had been shrinking in the period leading up to the tanker attacks.

Though danger of an immediate confrontation over last week’s tanker attacks – which the US blamed on Iran but Tehran denied – appeared to recede, tensions over the strategic route remain high.

A fifth of the world’s oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday said that Washington does not want to go to war with Iran but will take every action necessary, including diplomacy, to guarantee safe navigation in the Middle East.

Prices received no boost from comments by Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih today reiterating that OPEC was moving was towards a consensus on extending a production cut agreement in a meeting he predicted would convene in the first week of July.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries plus Russia and other producers, have a deal to cut output by 1.2 million bpd from January 1.

The pact ends this month and the group meets in the coming weeks to decide its next move.

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Euro zone wages post record annual rise in Q1

Euro zone wages post record annual rise in Q1

Euro zone wages rose in the first quarter of the year at the highest pace ever recorded since data is collected, data from the European Union’s statistics office showed today.

The increase is a positive signal for the European Central Bank’s plans to drive inflation up but has so far not translated into higher prices in the 19-country euro zone.

Eurostat said wages and salaries rose 2.5% in the first three months of the year compared to the same quarter of the previous year, posting the highest increase since 2010, when it started gathering data.

Salaries’ increased 2.3% in both the previous two quarters.

Wages rose more than overall labour costs which in the first quarter increased by 2.4%, Eurostat said.

The non-wage component of labour costs went up by 2.2%, offsetting the increase in wage costs.

Although wages are rising and employment is at a record high, consumer prices have repeatedly disappointed and underlying inflation remains weak, baffling policymakers and putting in doubt the central bank’s ability to control prices.

In the three-month period when wages reached their record growth, euro zone inflation was up by a maximum of 1.5% in February.

It posted a 1.4% increase in January and March, still far from the ECB’s target of a rate close but below 2%.

In May inflation slowed to 1.2%, the latest Eurostat figures show.

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Extra security steps coming to online shopping and banking

Extra security steps coming to online shopping and banking

Consumers are being encouraged to familiarise themselves with upcoming changes to their online shopping and banking.

New European Union regulations come into full force on 14 September, which will see additional security measures required for electronic transactions.

That could, for example, involve an additional step for a customer logging in to their bank account online. It may also see additional verification, such as a code sent via text, being required in order to complete an online purchase.

The Banking and Payments Federation is today rolling out a public awareness campaign around the changes, which are part of the EU’s second Payment Services Directive (PSD2).

It says that the new security measures may differ from one bank to another, but they are all ultimately being introduced to protect customers.

Banks will soon begin to contact account holders with more information on the changes, which customers are being encouraged to read carefully.

In addition to enhanced security measures, PSD2 will also allow third parties to offer services to customers through their bank accounts.

This might allow customers to more easily manage their finances across multiple bank accounts, or securely share statements as part of a loan application.

Customers will get to decide which third parties they use and can revoke access at any time. BPFI also notes that these companies will be regulated in a similar way to banks themselves.

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Residential property price growth slows to 3.1% in April

Residential property price growth slows to 3.1% in April

New figures show that Dublin residential property prices grew again at a slower pace in April than the rest of the country.

The latest residential property price figures from the Central Statistics Office show that prices nationwide rose by 3.1% in April compared to the same month last year.

This is the lowest rate of price growth since the recovery in prices began in 2013 and compares with an increase of 13.3% the same time last year.

Dublin residential property prices rose by 0.5% in the year to April, with no change in house prices and apartments rising by 2.2%.

The CSO noted that the highest house price growth in the city was in South Dublin at 4%, while Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown saw the greatest decline in house prices with a fall of 1.5%.

Residential property prices in the rest of the country rose by 5.6% higher in the year to April, with house prices up by 5.8% and apartments by 5.9%.

The region outside of Dublin that saw the largest rise in property prices was the Border with growth of 11.4%, while the smallest rise was recorded in the Mid-East at 1.5%.

The CSO has calculated that property prices nationally have increased by 81.9% from their trough in early 2013.

Dublin residential property prices have risen 91.9% from their February 2012 low, while residential property prices in the rest of Ireland are 79.9% higher than at their trough in May 2013.

Today’s CSO figures show that households paid a median price of €250,000 for a home in the 12 months to April 2019.

The Dublin region had the highest median price of €366,000l. Within the Dublin region, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown had the highest median price at €537,000, while Fingal had the lowest at €331,887.

The CSO noted that the highest median prices outside Dublin were in Wicklow at €315,000 and Kildare (€295,000). Tthe lowest was €100,000 in Longford and Leitrim.

The CSO also said that a total of 44,598 household dwelling purchases were filed with Revenue in the year to April.

Of these, 30.7% were purchases by first-time buyer owner-occupiers, while former owner-occupiers purchased 52.2%. The balance of 17.1% were acquired by buy-to-let purchasers.

Revenue data shows that there were 1,005 first-time buyer purchases in April, an increase of 5.7% on the 951 the same time last year.

These purchases were composed of 310 new homes and 695 existing homes.

Commenting on today’s figures, Goodbody economist Dermot O’Leary said that while the house price data may somewhat lag market developments, it is clear affordability, binding mortgage rules and a higher stock for sale continues to weigh on price growth.

“In contrast, rapid employment growth, rising earnings and a pick-up in mortgage approvals should provide support,” he added.

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Ireland has spent €86.8m on carbon credits to meet emissions targets

Ireland has spent €86.8m on carbon credits to meet emissions targets

Ireland’s approach to reducing carbon emissions is a “charade” that is costing millions annually as it is buying carbon credits from other countries to “pretend we are coming in under target”, according to the chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee.

Seán Fleming said it was “horrific” that €86.8m of Irish taxpayers’ money had been spent purchasing carbon credits from other countries and labelled it “gross hypocrisy”.

A spokesman for the Government said that the €86m was spent on carbon credits in 2008 and 2009.

It has also emerged that Ireland could have to pay €60m to “buy our way out of pretending” we are meeting renewable energy targets.

Additionally, the Department of the Environment estimates that Irish taxpayers face paying between €6m and €13m to buy more unused carbon credits so Ireland can meet its EU 2020 climate targets.

The details are contained in a letter, dated 10 June, from Mark Griffin, Secretary General of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, to the PAC.

Mr Fleming explained that the committee asked the department for an information note on the costs the State will face for not meeting the 2020 Climate Action targets and when these costs will be due.

He said: “The State’s response, all of our response at Oireachtas and Government level, is entirely hypocritical when you read this letter.”

The letter said that “the EU requires member states to meet their targets using unused emission credits from earlier years or to purchase credits from other member states via international markets”.

Mr Fleming said: “In simple English, if we don’t meet our targets we can buy our way out of the problem by buying unused emissions from somewhere else. It’s the biggest act of gross hypocrisy when it comes to the environment.

“We are saying that if we don’t meet our targets we will buy unused emission credits from somebody else and pay the price so that when we come to the end of the 2020 target, we are below our target because we have unused credits in the system.”

The National Treasury Management Association purchases these on behalf of the State.

“And on behalf of the State the NTMA has already spent €86.8m of Irish taxpayers’ money purchasing these credits which is horrific. And that is to avoid a fine,” Mr Fleming said.

The PAC also asked the department about Ireland’s prospects of meeting its Climate 2020 targets.

The letter states: “The department currently estimates that the additional costs of this requirement to be in the region of €6-€13m between now and then if we don’t meet the additional costs.”

On renewable energy targets, the department said: “We have a target of 16% renewable energy by 2020. We have increased a lot from 2005 when we were at just 3%.”

They are expecting to reach somewhere in the order of 13% by 2020.

The letter went on to say that “some years ago the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland estimated that we could buy our way out of that problem at a cost of anywhere between €65m and €130m.

“However in 2017, trade between Luxembourg, Lithuania and Estonia suggested the costs of the order of €22.5m per percentage point below our 16% target.

“So if we are 3% below our target, it could cost us, based on those prices, another €60m to buy our way out of pretending we are meeting environmental targets.”

Mr Fleming concluded: “I want everyone who has an interest in the environment to know that it is a charade what we are doing in this country. We are buying unused credit emissions from other countries to balance our books and pretend we are coming in under target. We are doing nothing of the sort.”

He said that the State should not have to spend taxpayers’ money to buy our way out of these problems. “We should be doing the right thing in the first place,” he said.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton had previously said that it was likely to cost the State up to €150m to pay for carbon credits ahead of the 2020 deadline.

Director of Friends of the Earth Ireland, Oisín Coghlan, said the revelations show “that the cost of inaction will always be greater than the cost of action”.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, he said the Government “has a chance to put things right” in its forthcoming climate action plan to “show how we try to make up some ground between now and 2020 and much more ground from 2030” or face fines or costs of between €2bn-€6bn if it does not meet our 2030 targets.

Mr Coghlan called for the plan to include four key measures: the target adopted to reduce carbon emissions is placed in law, the introduction of five-year carbon budgets that are adopted by the Dáil, a strong Climate Change Council to monitor the Government, and a strong parliamentary committee for carbon emissions.

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