SPOTLIGHT ON SIGNALS FROM CONSUMER TAXES - The European Central Bank is expected to leave interest rates unchanged at 1% at its meeting in Luxembourg later today.

Rossa White, chief economist at Davy, believes the rate will stay at this level for some time, perhaps well into next year. He says the ECB is also lending money to banks at lower rates and buying bonds - though these moves are small compared with those from the US Federal Reserve and Bank of England.

On the Exchequer figures for the first six months, Mr White says the economy has been declining at a slower pace, and this has been reflected in tax revenues. He says this is the first month we will have seen the impact of tax rises from the April Budget, so the take from consumer-related taxes such as VAT and excise duties will be worth watching.

***

COMPANY BUYERS SEE NO RECOVERY UNTIL 2011 - A new piece of research this morning surveys executives in charge of deciding what to buy and when for big public and private organisations and companies. That spending benefits the wider economy. The Irish Institute of Purchasing & Materials Managers (IIPMM) found that 53% of companies responding to a questionnaire cut their spending in the first six months. But a lower number of managers expect the decline to continue in the second half.

The president of the IIPMM, Jane O'Keeffe, says there are mixed signals from the survey. Though budgets have been cut, but those surveys are anticipating a levelling off in the second half. More than half of respondents expect a recovery in the Irish economy by 2011 at the earliest.

***

CURRENCIES - The euro is worth $1.4115 and 85.9p sterling.