News Archives - Page 2 of 567 - Pat Carroll PCCO - Chartered Accountants & Tax Advisors

Euro zone banks lower bar on mortgages but demand keeps falling – ECB

Euro zone banks lowered the bar on mortgage approvals last quarter for the first time in over two years but demand for credit kept falling amid high borrowing costs and a stagnant economy, a European Central Bank survey showed today.

The ECB has pushed interest rates to record highs to rein in inflation, bringing bank credit growth in the 20 countries that share the euro to a standstill.

While banks were slowly turning less cautious – at least about extending home loans – households and companies showed little appetite for taking on fresh debt, the ECB’s quarterly Bank Lending Survey showed.

Banks eased their standards for approving loans to households for house purchases in the three months to March and tightened access to corporate credit less than they had expected.

But they still reported a “substantial decline” in demand for credit from companies – which they did not expect three months earlier – and a “small decline” for housing loans.

“Higher interest rates, as well as lower fixed investment for firms and lower consumer confidence for households, exerted dampening pressure on loan demand,” the ECB said.

Yet banks expected an improvement in the three months to June, with only a “moderate net decrease in demand” for corporate loans and even an increase in demand for loans to households.

Interest rates on new mortgages fell as banks anticipated rate cuts from the ECB. This was also seen putting an end to banks’ record profits.

“The dampening impact of the ECB’s interest rate decisions expected over the next six months also extends to overall bank profitability, with a moderately negative contribution from provisioning and impairments,” the ECB said.

Article Source – Euro zone banks lower bar on mortgages but demand keeps falling – ECB – RTE

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60% would turn down a job that does not offer hybrid work

60% of people would turn down a job if it did not offer hybrid working, new data shows.

The latest Cpl Salary Guide reveals that 66% of those surveyed currently avail of hybrid working.

Almost 40% said that flexible and remote working provides a better work-life balance and increased job satisfaction.

“We see from this data that the hybrid working model is here to stay,” said Barry Winkless, Chief Strategy Officer at Cpl Group and Head of the Future of Work Institute.

“Hybrid working provides a major opportunity for talent and employers to come together in a blended working model.

“These models give employees more independence, while also providing employers with a wider talent pool from which to source candidates with niche skillsets,” he added.

The data also reveals that over 60% of workers are considering asking for a pay rise over the next 12 months.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Mr Winkless said this is partly due to cost of living pressures, and the fact that we are in a relatively full employment environment.

“I also think we are in an employee environment where very good employees in high demand roles have the ability to create their own destiny,” he said.

Mr Winkless said overall he expects to see pay rises of between 3-4% this year, with hikes of up to 10% in high demand sectors.

“Obviously technology, and certain areas in technology such as data and programming is going to be very big, and in the legal profession we are seeing big moves in that space also,” he added.

Meanwhile, today’s data shows that almost half of workers are considering changing jobs over the next year, while more than 70% are thinking about up-skilling.

When it comes to the roll out of Artificial Intelligence, just 12% of those surveyed think AI will have a negative impact on their jobs over the next 12 months.

46% believe the impact will be neutral, or have no impact on their roles, while 40% think AI will have a positive impact on their jobs in the short term.

But Mr Winkless said views change when you look at the longer-term picture.

“When you look at that three to five year horizon, that is when employees are getting a bit worried about AI,” he said.

On the issue of sustainability, the data shows that more than any other generation, Gen Z employees want to work for ‘meaningful’ companies that give back and make a difference.

Mr Winkless said ‘meaningful’ organisations need to be three things – more humane, more technological and more societal.

“Gen Z workers really won’t work with organisations that don’t have a deeper meaning in terms of what they do,” he said.

“For all the bad press that Gen Z get, they are actually driving this approach to work – that is more than just work,” he added.

Today’s report states that as this up-and-coming generation becomes a larger part of the talent pool, the expectation for companies to develop sustainable business practices will grow in importance.

Article Source – 60% would turn down a job that does not offer hybrid work – RTE

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Higher level of affinity for family business in Ireland

Nearly three quarters of third level students who come from a family business background believe that the next CEO of the firm will be a family member, according to a study on succession carried out by Dublin City University in association with AIB.

The study points to an unusually high level of affinity for involvement in family business among Irish participants compared to the global picture.

Despite the preponderance of family businesses globally, something of a “succession crisis” is believed to have emerged, with studies suggesting that succession intentions among next-generation family business members are low.

This is understood to be most likely as a result of improved labour markets presenting would-be successors with more choice in the world today.

However, Ireland is considered to have largely bucked the global trend on this front with almost half of respondents saying they had seriously thought about taking over the family business at some point.

40% said they had “strong intentions” of becoming a successor, with men twice as likely as their female counterparts to express those sentiments.

When questioned about determining factors in choosing the next line, “level of interest” in the business is believed to most influence the choice of successor with “order of birth” the least influential.

While only around 15% of participants said they held financial ownership in their family business, 39% of next generation members reported a high degree of “psychological ownership” of the business.

Family businesses here represent nearly two thirds of all firms and employ 940,000 people, the study claims.

“Family businesses are the bedrock of economies and communities, exercising the dynastic will to build strong businesses and survive the social and economic crises that often crush non-family businesses,” Dr Eric Clinton, Director of the DCU National Centre for Family Business said.

“Despite this prominence, a global succession crisis has recently emerged, but not for the island of Ireland. Family businesses are the bedrock of economies and communities, exercising the dynastic will to build strong businesses and survive the social and economic crises that often crush non-family businesses,” he said.

“Despite this prominence, a global succession crisis has recently emerged, but not for the island of Ireland,” he added.

Article Source – Higher level of affinity for family business in Ireland – DCU/AIB study – RTE

Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000

NAMA sought resolution unit as part of wind down

The State’s bad bank asked the Government to set up a ‘NAMA resolution unit’ because there was no way they could finalise all legal cases, insolvency, and property disposals before their official wind-up at the end of 2025.

NAMA is due to be shut down at the end of next year but informed the Department of Finance it will still have property on its books as well as outstanding litigation.

It told the department a resolution unit could potentially operate as part of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) to manage the last of its business.

In an update for the Department of Finance late last August, NAMA said it faced seven key challenges in finishing its work by December 2025 as they faced significant pressure to sell off the last of their assets and manage debtors.

NAMA said they were facing considerable difficulties in retaining staff with a “broad set of skills and expertise” as employees were leaving knowing their jobs were soon to disappear.

The asset management agency also said there was limited scope for them to resolve litigation where it was the defendant.

“Therefore, it is possible that some cases may still be unresolved by end-2025. There is the potential for new litigation to emerge and must be resolved,” said the presentation.

It warned too of difficulties in wrapping up insolvency cases and that some were almost certain to continue after the date of NAMA’s closure.

It said: “The timing of [these] is controlled by bankruptcy trustees or the courts. There is the potential for new insolvency proceedings to be required.”

NAMA referred as well to “the resolution of some challenging cases that may require significant remediation activity and cost” that were not certain to be concluded.

The agency said also they were receiving a very high volume of queries on historical transactions and that there was no sign that this was slowing down.

The agency said they were concerned too that delays in changes to the NAMA Act to facilitate the formal wind-down would not be implemented in time by the Oireachtas.

The briefing said: “Recent evidence from the delay in implementing the required change to the LDA [Land Development Agency] Act to facilitate the transfer of the National Asset Residential Property Services demonstrates this possibility.”

In an overview of its loan portfolio, NAMA said it had around €500 million in debtor loans remaining including “largely complex assets” that required ongoing management and monitoring.

More than half the remaining land under their management is in North County Dublin, and 94% in total is in Dublin and the surrounding commuter counties.

It said there were challenges in “deleveraging” with changing market conditions and the “potential for assets to realise lower prices at a slower pace than projected”.

The briefing explained as well how there were many small holdings in the property portfolio which despite their size required “significant activity”.

On litigation, NAMA said it would continue to pursue settlement options but only where it was commercially advantageous.

They again warned of the risk of being seen as an “easy target” for legal cases because of the wind-down with a risk of “vexatious and costly new litigation”.

Asked about the records, a spokesperson for NAMA said they had nothing further to add to their contents.

Early last month, the Department of Finance announced they would proceed with plans for a resolution unit to manage any “residual activity” from the asset management agency.

Article Source – NAMA sought resolution unit as part of wind down – RTE

Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000

Live Register figures ease by 0.2% in March – CSO

New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the seasonally adjusted Live Register total for March decreased by 400 to 174,500 people – a fall of 0.2%.

The CSO said the unadjusted Live Register total stood at 173,396 people for March and of these 54.6% were men.

Today’s figures show that the 35-44 age group made up the largest number of those on the Live Register in March at 40,797 people or 23.5% of the total.

Meanwhile, a total of 18,860 people under the age of 25 were on the Live Register in March – accounting for 10.9% of all claimants.

The counties that saw the largest increase in the number of people on the Live Register last month were Meath, with an increase of 10.6%, while Laois saw a rise of 4.7%.

The CSO said that 21,237 people were benefitting from the EU’s Temporary Protection Directive included in the Live Register figures for March, a fall of 757 people from February.

The Live Register is not designed to measure unemployment as it includes part-time workers as well as seasonal and casual workers who are entitled to Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Figures earlier this week from the CSO showed that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March was 4.3%, up from the rate of 4.2% recorded in February and from 4.1% in March of last year.

Article Source – Live Register figures ease by 0.2% in March – CSO – RTE

Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000

AIB, EBS and Haven cut fixed Green mortgage rates by 0.2%

AIB and affiliates EBS and Haven are cutting the fixed rates on their “Green Mortgages” by 0.2%.

The changes will take place from tomorrow and will be available to new customers and existing customers seeking to fix.

The bank claims the move will make its Green Mortgage rates the cheapest in the country.

On a €300,000 5-year Green fixed rate mortgage over 25 years with a loan to value ratio of 50-80%, the change will lead to savings of around €32 a month on repayments or €387 a year.

The product is available to new customers who are buying a home which has a BER of B3 or higher or if they are an existing customer whose home is rated B3-A1, where there is over five years left on the loan.

“I would encourage customers to check if they are eligible for a cheaper rate, particularly those who have carried out retrofitting work on their homes to improve the energy rating to between A1 and B3,” said AIB’s Managing Director, Retail Banking Geraldine Casey.

“Reducing our Green Mortgage rates aligns with our strategy to further green our loan book as we support customers to make more sustainable choices.”

In the first half of last year, more than 19,000 energy upgrades were completed according to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

Later this week the Governing Council of the European Central Bank is due to meet to consider what to do with interest rates.

With inflation continuing to fall, markets are pricing in a first rate cut by the ECB in June.

This is likely to put pressure on banks to pass through the reductions to borrowers.

However, it is expected that Irish banks will be slower to cut their rates as they did not pass through the full 4.5% in increases by the ECB.

For example, AIB has applied increases of around 1.7% to its mortgage rates.

Article Source – AIB, EBS and Haven cut fixed Green mortgage rates by 0.2% – RTE

Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000

Record March for wind energy production

The amount of electricity produced by wind hit a new record for March last month, new data shows.

1,541GWh of power was generated by wind farms here during the month.

Previously, the record for March was 1,392, with this set in March 2020.

This meant that wind energy was responsible for providing 43% of the country’s total electricity during the period.

The bumper level of wind production came as the wholesale price of electricity dropped to €88.67, down 40% from €145.25 in March of last year.

“The quicker we can build wind farms, the sooner we can help to bring down the cost of electricity and support struggling electricity consumers,” said Justin Moran, Director of External Affairs, Wind Energy Ireland.

“We hope to see the new Planning and Development Bill enacted this year which will help to modernise the Irish planning system and ensure that planning applications are thoroughly, but quickly, examined.”

The data also shows that the county where the most power was produced by wind during the month was Kerry.

It generated 187 GWh, with Cork producing 163 GWh and Tipperary 106 GWh.

Collectively, they generated enough electricity to meet nearly a third of Ireland’s total electricity demand.

“Irish wind farms, and particularly those in Kerry, are playing an enormous part in reducing Ireland’s carbon emissions by over 4 million tonnes a year and creating significant opportunities in job creation and funding for rural communities,” said Justin Moran.

Article Source – Record March for wind energy production – RTE

Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000

Euro zone investor morale hits two-year high in April

Investor morale in the euro zone improved for the sixth consecutive month in April to its highest level in more than two years, a survey showed today, adding that even though Germany remained a drag it showed “economic signs of life”.

Sentix’s index for the euro zone rose to -5.9 points in April from -10.5 in March, its highest level since February 2022, also beating a forecast of -8.5 in a Reuters poll of analysts.

“Will there finally be a sustainable economic upturn? At least the economic recovery in the eurozone and worldwide is continuing,” Sentix said. “The economic signals are also stabilising internationally.”

Sentix said that while expectation values for Germany had improved to their highest level since February 2022, Europe’s biggest economy “remains the relative problem child of the major industrialised nations”.

For the euro zone, the expectations index rose to 5 points in April from -2.3 points in March, a seventh consecutive month of rises and the highest value since February 2022.

The index on the current situation in the euro zone also increased to -16.3 in April from -18.5 in the previous month, the sixth monthly increase in a row.

The poll of 1,201 investors was conducted between April 4 and April 6.

Article Source – Euro zone investor morale hits two-year high in April – RTE

Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000

Govt publishes bill paving way for pension auto-enrolment

The Government has published a bill which will pave the way for 800,000 workers to be brought into a pension scheme for the first time.

Publishing the Automatic Enrolment Retirement Savings System Bill 2024, Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys said this represents one of the biggest reforms of the pension system in the history of the State.

“This landmark legislation is about protecting our workers, and particularly our young people, when it comes to reaching their retirement years,” she said.

There are about 800,000 workers in the State who have no occupational or private pension meaning they will be solely reliant on the State Pension when they retire.

Under Automatic Enrolment, all employees will have access to a workplace pension savings scheme which is co-funded by their employer and the State.

Upon being enacted, employees aged between 23 and 60 years old, who earn over €20,000 per year, and who are not already paying into a pension scheme, will be automatically enrolled.

In a similar way to the old SSIA system, contributions made by the employee will be matched by the employer and topped up by the State.

In practice, for every €3 put in by the employee, the employer will also contribute €3, and the State will contribute €1.

That means for every €3 an employee puts in, they will receive a pot of €7.

The Government said contribution rates will be phased in gradually over a period of ten years.

Starting in 2025, employees will contribute 1.5% of their gross earnings, which will be matched by their employer, and topped-up by the State.

These rates will gradually increase every three years until reaching a maximum contribution rate of 6% per employee, 6% per employer, plus 2% from the State from 2034 onwards.

The Government said this steady phasing-in allows time for employers to budget and plan and for employees to adjust to the new system.

Article Source – Govt publishes bill paving way for pension auto-enrolment – RTE

Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000

Office leasing in Dublin falls in first quarter

There was a drop in the amount of office space leased in Dublin in the first quarter of the year, new data shows.

Research from commercial real estate company JLL Irelands shows that 31 deals were completed, across 96,000 sq. ft of office space.

The volume of space is down 44% on the previous quarter and is 63% below the five-year quarterly average.

The data shows that the average deal size has fallen to 6,346 sq. ft., a drop of 56% from the pre-pandemic five-year annual average.

Outside of the pandemic years in 2020 and 2021, this is the lowest quarterly volume of space leased since 2013.

However, JLL Ireland said a sharp rise in occupiers reserving space signals that activity will pick up later this year.

800,000 sq. ft of space was reserved, up over 35% on the previous quarter.

This is up 20% on the average quarterly reserved space in 2023.

Vacant space has increased in the market and now stands at 7.3m sq. ft or a vacancy rate of 15.4%, up from 14.9% the previous quarter.

“Demand for sustainable, low carbon space is growing; however, our research shows that supply will struggle to keep pace without increased levels of retrofitting,” said Niall Gargan, Head of Research for JLL Ireland.

“In Dublin, this will become an acute problem by 2027 when the pipeline of new deliverable space will become non-existent, and only 39% of the market will be able to function in a future where high sustainability standards will be the norm,” he added.

Article Source – Office leasing in Dublin falls in first quarter – RTE

Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000