IRELAND'S €637m EXPORT TRADE WITH RUSSIA AT RISK OVER UKRAINE CRISIS - Ireland could lose hundreds of millions of euro worth of exports to Russia if the ongoing crisis over Ukraine and its weakening economy continues. Irish firms export goods and services worth about €637m to Russia every year, making it one of our more important trade partners outside the EU and US, says the Irish Independent. However, the collapse in the ruble over the last week, combined with problems in Russia's domestic economy, are likely to cut back the popularity of Irish goods over there. Analysts at currency trader Clear Currency warned this trend was likely to hit trading this year. "Ireland exported goods worth €637m to Russia last year and the weaker ruble and economic destabilisation has the potential to impact this level in 2014. "Economists are now warning that the rush to increase interest rates will stifle economic growth and could lead to recession in Russia," the firm said.
OCCUPANCY RATE FOR DUBLIN HOTELS ABOVE PRE-RECESSION LEVEL - Dublin hotels increased their returns more than those in any other major European city last year, a new report indicates. The report, prepared by financial services firm PwC, also forecast that the revenue per available room for Dublin hotels will increase by a further 5.2% this year, and 3.8% next year, having jumped by a massive 11% in 2013. The occupancy rate for Dublin hotels has passed pre-recession levels, with rates of 79% last year compared with 67% in 2008, says the Irish Times. The projected occupancy rate for this year is 80%. The projected increase for revenue per room for this year is highest for Dublin, followed by London and Paris, both at 3.8%. These are followed by Edinburgh, Berlin, Frankfurt, Vienna and Moscow. London is projected to top the growth league in 2015, followed by Dublin and then Lisbon, Prague and Moscow. The average daily room rate for Dublin was €89 last year, putting it in 14th place among the cities surveyed. The occupancy level puts it in fourth position.
FORWARD GUIDANCE THREATENS TO 'ENCOURAGE EXCESSIVE RISK' - Efforts by central banks to spur economic recovery by providing guidance on what will happen to interest rates could endanger the global financial system, economists at the Bank for International Settlements have warned. The Financial Times says that investors are being encouraged to load up on risk because they believe forward guidance will warn them well in advance about any rise in interest rates, according to research published by the Basel-based institution known as the central bankers’ bank. The strategy could also result in rates remaining too low for too long because central banks fear the reaction of markets to any rate rise, fuelling even riskier behaviour. The guidance, which all four of the leading central banks have undertaken, could raise the threat of “an unhealthy accumulation of financial imbalances”, economists Andrew Filardo, who heads the BIS monetary policy unit, and Boris Hofmann argue. It could also cause panic if investors believe the guidance had changed unexpectedly.
HUGE PAYOUTS FOR CO-OP'S NEW BOSSES CONDEMNED - Co-operative Group is facing a fierce backlash after it emerged that the troubled banking-to-supermarkets organisation is set to hike its new chief executive’s pay package to £3.66m, writes the London Independent. Leading politicians said they were “deeply disturbed” by the “gigantic golden hellos” for Euan Sutherland and other executives, who have been recruited to turn around the Co-op after it admitted last year it had a £1.5 billion black hole in its finances. Mr Sutherland is in line for a £1.5m base salary and £1.5m retention payment, plus other perks, after he quit as chief operating officer of B&Q owner Kingfisher to join the Co-op last May. His predecessor, Peter Marks, earned only £1.3m last year. Group finance director Richard Pennycook, who was brought in from the supermarket chain Wm Morrison, is to get a salary of £900,000 and retention payment of £900,000 - also well above that of his predecessor. Former human resources boss Rebecca Skitt is also said to have got a £2m pay-off in February after working at the Co-op for one year.