CHINESE GATHERING HOPING TO TAKEAWAY SEVERAL DEALS - Today sees the largest ever - in terms of numbers - gathering of Chinese business people in Ireland. 120 business men and women from 80 different Chinese large and medium sized companies from aviation, IT, finance and other areas are meeting around 150 Irish businesses of all shapes and sizes in a hotel in Dublin.
The Chairman of the Ireland China Association, Brendan Waldron, says there are deals to be done. He says that the Chinese companies are looking at both partnerships and sales. He says the economic mood is still very positive in China with to real slowdown evident. There is a large requirement in China for foreign technology and know-how and they are very serious in looking for interested parties. He says China was very impressed with the Irish growth story, and the authorities there have actually copied the Shannon Development Zone strategy as they develop their technology parks there.
NO CHANGES FROM THE ECB ON RATES EXPECTED TODAY - The European Central Bank is expected to leave interest rates on hold at 1%, but Jean-Claude Trichet may begin the softening up process for increases in the months ahead.
Goodbody Stockbrokers economist Deirdre Ryan says she does not believe the ECB is in any rush to raise interest rates until it is sure the euro zone economy is recovering - and more importantly - that the recovery is sustained.
MORNING BRIEFS -The newspapers are this morning quoting heavily from a letter from the new managing director of AIB to his staff. Colm Doherty tells employees of a 1,000 day plan to restore the bank's fortunes but warns of tough decisions ahead to reduce costs which are too high for the revenue the bank expects to generate. He says most of the bank's problems have been self inflicted and regrets that bank staff - most of them entirely blameless - have been the subject of so much public wrath for the bank's failings.
*** Bank of America has announced that it will repay the $45 billion of US Government bailout money loaned under the Troubled Asset Relief Programme. The move is expected over the next few days. The bank says it will use $26 billion of cash and sell securities to make up the rest. The move will free the bank of restrictions on executive pay.
*** The board of Royal Bank of Scotland has, reportedly, threatened to resign if the UK Treasury interferes in the dispersal of bonuses to staff. The bank, which is majority owned by the UK Government, says an inability to pay bonuses would hurt its chances of recovery because good staff will leave to work elsewhere.
*** On the currency markets, the euro is worth $1.5114 and 90.53 pence sterling.