Morning business news - January 21Tuesday 21 January 2014 10.52
According to some it symbolises all that is wrong in the world, but later today in Davos in Switzerland, people will start to arrive for the 44th annual World Economic Forum. Davos is a gathering of the world's elite, and it says it is committed to improving the state of the world by bringing business leaders, politicians, academics and other leaders to shape global, regional and industry agendas. But as always there is opposition to the meeting, with the World Development Movement saying it is a strategy meeting for the 1% whose decisions fuel inequality and poverty.
Stephen Fidler, Brussels bureau chief with the Wall Street Journal, says the usual mixture of world leaders, finance ministers, central bankers and top business leaders will attend the Davos gathering. Taoiseach Enda Kenny will also be in attendance, and he is expected to talk about the good news coming from Ireland at the moment as we exited out international bailout programme at the end of last year. Mr Fidler says that inequality will be on this year's agenda, but whether any concrete measures will be agreed at the forum is another matter. Describing Davos as a talking shop and a networking opportunity for many people, he says the meeting may have an impact later in the year through the contacts made this week.
Central bankers and their policies are an important aspect of the Davos summit and attention will be focused on when they will finish their special measures to take the world economy out of the trough it found itself. However, ECB President Mario Draghi will also be addressing the issue of inflation - or deflation - in the euro zone and the dangers that might present for the euro zone economy, Mr Fidler said. He also said that protests around the summit are expected to be ramped up over the next few days, and the protesters will try to make more of an impact than in previous gatherings.
MORNING BRIEFS - Denis O'Brien, one of Ireland's richest businessmen, is going to launch a "massive push" this year to expand his global telecoms business into next-generation mobile and fixed line services. Digicel, his Caribbean and Central American telecoms group, will invest about $500m in its network this year, a year when Mr O'Brien said - in an interview with The Financial Times - he anticipates a change in the "world order" of the telecoms market. Also, he will still see a massive payout from the business even after the investment plans. Digicel is expected to pay a $650m dividend to Mr O'Brien, who owns about 94% of the private group.
*** That ratings agency Moody's upgrade of Irish debt over the weekend saw the State's borrowing costs fall to a record low yesterday. Yields on five-year Irish bonds dropped 17 basis points at one stage yesterday to 1.621%, a 92 year low. Moody's was the only one of three key agencies to class the debt as "junk". An investment grade mark means more investors can buy Irish debt.
*** High rents in Dublin, rising energy bills and expensive labour costs need to be kept down to encourage US multinationals to invest in Ireland, according to the new president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland. Louise Phelan, a Vice President at PayPal, said that even before the recovery began there was a debate around the need for more high-quality office space for modern technology-driven businesses setting up here.
The US Chamber represents the interests of 700 multinationals which employ more than 115,000 people in Ireland.