Morning business news - May 9

Friday 09 May 2014 10.26
Morning business news with Conor Brophy
Morning business news with Conor Brophy

Global milk supplies are at record levels and all the main production regions are reporting strong numbers. So far demand is keeping pace with supply which is something Irish farmers will be hoping remains the case as we are mid-way through peak-production season.

Pat O'Keefe, deputy editor and news editor with the Farmer's Journal, says that demand for dairy and dairy products grows by an average of about 2% annually, but that last year it increased by 2.5%. All across the main production regions, supply is reaching "bumper" levels  in the likes of New Zealand, the US and France. Farmers are seeing record prices for their milk, while feed prices are much lower this year compared to last year - Mr O'Keefe describes the situation as a perfect storm in reverse. However, this will have an impact on prices - as farmers respond to high milk prices, they oversupply the market and that causes pressure. Spot prices have already seen fairly sharp drops, the journalist points out.

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MORNING BRIEFS - Revenue has yet to make contact with 1,500 people who may have paid the local property tax for 2013 even though they were exempted from doing so. Confusing wording in the legislation - which was intended to apply only to first-time buyers - actually exempted all owner-occupiers who bought homes last year. It was estimated that up to 3,000 people paid the local property tax without realising that the legislative anomaly exempted them from having to do so.  In response to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath, the minister for finance has confirmed that 1,500 people have been written to so far by Revenue over this issue. Of those, 600 have submitted claims to be exempt from the tax. Revenue says around half the claims have resulted in refunds. It has yet to contact the other 1,500 who may be entitled to refunds but will do so in the near future.

*** Grafton Group, the builders merchant and DIY retailer, says it has benefitted from better weather in the UK and Ireland so far this year compared to poor conditions in 2013. In its interim management statement Grafton, which reports results in sterling as the UK is its main market, says revenue for the four months to the end of April increased 13.5% to £654m. Grafton said it is seeing more home-buying, building and DIY activity in the UK, while it Ireland it points to continuing recovery in the economy. 

*** Dr Dre is on track to become rap's first billionaire as Apple closes in on a take over of the headphone company he co-founded in a $3.2 billion deal. Beats By Dre - music mogul Jimmy Iovine was the other co-founder - also recently launched a subscription based music streaming service which allows users to listen to as much music as they want to for $10 a month. That is being seen as a key driver of the deal from Apple's perspective. Analysts say it could mesh nicely with Apple's iTunes music download service.