Morning business news - August 8Thursday 07 August 2014 11.45
Visitors to this weekend's Tullamore Agricultural Show will be able to take part in what is being billed as Ireland's first online auction for livestock. The auction is being organised by Livestock-live.com, founded by Tullamore native Brendan Hannigan.
Mr Hannigan says that Livestock-live.com gives buyers a larger amount of animals to see and therefore to buy and has been operating very successfully in the UK over the last few months. He says a key point about the site is that before any deal is completed and full funds handed over, the animal is delivered to the buyer and fully inspected. Mr Hannigan says the site enhances the mart experience and is actually easier on the animal as there is less movement around the country, which results in less stress for the animal and less risk of spreading disease. Two animals are available for sale on the site as part of the Tullamore Show at a massively reduced asking price, Mr Hannigan adds.
MORNING BRIEFS - Kerry Group says it will still hit its earnings target for the year despite what it described in an interim management statement as "challenging conditions in many markets". The food group posted sales growth of 3.3% over the first six months of the year.
*** Aer Lingus carried 142,000 long haul passengers in July an increase of 22% on the same month last year. For the year-to-date, the airline has carried almost 5 million passengers - a drop of 0.2% compared to the first seven months of last year.
*** The European Central Bank's monthly governing council meeting takes place later this morning amid continuing concern about low inflation across the euro zone. The annualised rate at which prices are rising in the currency bloc is at its lowest level in four and a half years and at 0.4% is way below the ECB's target of close to but not above 2%. Consumer demand remains weak and with its main reference rate at a record low of 0.15% already the ECB is not expected to cut further.
*** Figures yesterday confirmed that the euro zone's third largest economy, Italy, slipped back into recession. Output fell by 0.2% during the second quarter of the year, following a 0.1% contraction over the previous three month period.
The worse than expected figures had analysts cutting their growth forecasts for the full year for Italy with several now predicting Italy will be unable to meet its budget deficit reduction target as a result.
*** Belgian-owned KBC bank saw an increase in the amount of money set aside to cover loan losses here during the second quarter. The bank took a €130m charge for loan impairments in the three months to the end of June - primarily due to its Irish division. That was up on the €103m loan losses during the first quarter of the year but, in line with other Irish banks, was significantly lower than the €215m hit it took in the second quarter of 2013. KBC expects full year loan losses, again primarily driven by Ireland, of up to €200m. But the bank said it was seeing strong deposit growth here.