NUMBER OF DEALS IN COMMERCIAL PROPERTY ALREADY HIGHER THAN THE WHOLE OF LAST YEAR - €600m worth of commercial investment property in Ireland has changed hands so far this year. Transaction levels are already higher than in the whole of 2012, according to the bi-monthly overview of the commercial property market from CBRE.

CBRE director Marie Hunt says that most of the activity in the buying side of the commercial investment sector is coming from international investors, who are chasing the yield in the Irish market as they are encouraged by the improving economic landscape and as they take advantage of cheaper assets. NAMA is just of the main players who are involved in selling in the market, with banks and borrowers also evident. She says that rather than flooding the market with stock, there is a drip-feed of assets coming up for sale. There is pent-up demand from investors for the property, she adds.

On retail, Ms Hunt says the market continues to be somewhat of an enigma. She says that while evidence shows that the sector is struggling with weak consumer spending and sentiment, she notes that big retail chains still want to open up shops here and lots of deals are being done. The estate agent says she predicts that more retailers will go down the examinership route to try and force their landlords to restructure their rents.

Welcoming the establishment of the first Irish Real Estate Investment Trust here, Ms Hunt says it will bring another layer of investors into the market and will enable people to take advantage of the improving economic landscape by investing indirectly. Predicting the establishment of more REITs, she points out that unlike what happened in the UK - when REITs were introduced at the peak of the market - Ireland is introducing them just as the recovery is underway.


MORNING BRIEFS - Activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in June for the first time in four months. The data in the latest purchasing managers' index from Investec paint a mixed picture of the health of the sector. New orders for the domestic sector were only slightly improved and orders for overseas markets fell. Employment levels rose slightly during the month however.

*** The quarterly asking price figures from property websites and point to two distinct trends in their latest reports - asking prices for residential property are still falling nationwide but rising again in certain areas. Myhome points to a 1% year-on-year rise in prices in Dublin as a whole, the first it has recorded in six years, and a near 4% asking price rise in south Dublin over the year-to-date. Daft puts the south Dublin figure at over 12% year-to-date. The two reports are closer together in their asking price figure nationally. Myhome puts the annual fall at 8.6%. Daft puts it at 10%.

*** Accounts filed in the UK show that Apple paid zero corporation tax in that jurisdiction in the year up to September 2012. Figures filed by three Apple companies in the UK record revenues of over £1 billion and profits of £67m, that is around €80m at the average exchange rate last year. In fact, various tax deductions availed of by Apple mean it actually has a credit of £3.6m to carry forward and offset against future corporation tax liabilities in Britain.