DANSKE BANK IRELAND TO WITHDRAW FROM IRISH RETAIL BANKING SERVICES - Danske Bank Ireland, the former National Irish Bank, is ending the sale of personal and business banking products to new customers. In a statement this morning, it also said that existing day-to-day personal customer products and services will be withdrawn during the first six months of next year. The bank said it will now focus on its corporate customers, adding that it was unable to re-establish a sustainable retail banking business since the financial crisis.

Peter Brown, of the Irish Institute of Financial Trading, says that Dankse Bank Ireland's announcement shows that the Irish financial sector is still experiencing extreme difficulties. He says that the "engine room" of every economy is a good, strong banking sector and is not good news for the country as it comes so soon after the news that ACC is giving back its banking licence. Mr Brown also says that the difficult retail conditions which Danske Bank blames for its decision must be reflective of conditions for the country's pillar banks. The withdrawal of the bank's personal banking services also has an impact on competition, which again is not good news for the economy in general. He also predicts that more bad news will come from the banking sector in the coming months.

INTERTRADE IRELAND URGES MORE SMEs DOWN THE EXPORT ROUTE - A new report on Small and Medium Enterprises by InterTrade Ireland - the business development body promoting North-South trade - finds that exporting often begins as an ad-hoc and opportunity driven action rather than a strategic decision. It also suggests that a third of businesses with existing cross-border or off-island sales have expanded into additional markets in the past three years, and 42% of firms surveyed are actively looking to develop new or further export markets.

InterTradeIreland economist Aidan Gough, the report's author, says that the exporting sector was the shining light in the country's economic downturn. But he points out that two thirds of SMEs are not exporting at all, adding that this is something which needs to change. The economist says a company's decision not to export can be down to its leadership and their willingness to travel and network. But he says that the attributes needed for exporting can all be learned. 

MORNING BRIEFS - The Irish Exporters Association - publishing figures for the third three months of the year - says that robust growth in agri-food exports of 7.8% and services export growth of 6.5%, was not enough to stop the overall dip in exports in the July, August and September, as manufacturing exports fell by 7.8%. 

*** Facebook has admitted it is losing young teen users. Its shares last night initially jumped as much as 14% in after-hours trading after the company said mobile advertising accounted for almost half of the social network's ad revenue.  
The company reported a 60% surge in revenue to $2.02 billion in the third three months of its financial year, bringing in profits of $425m. Most of that was driven by advertising sales, with half of all sales coming from mobile. 

*** The Irish trade mission to the Middle East ends today. Over the past week food companies and agri-services businesses have visited Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in an effort to forge new export links with buyers in the region. Other agri-service related businesses have been part of the delegation, including Ringaskiddy, Co Cork-based firm BioTecor which makes water analysis devices. It has signed a €5m partnership deal with a Saudi based partner Yokogawa to supply their early warning liquid analyzer product to companies involved in commercial water usage.

*** Google has said it is outraged after a report that the US National Security Agency (NSA) has hacked its data. The comments follow a Washington Post report based on leaks from Edward Snowden claiming that the NSA hacked links connecting data centres operated by Google and Yahoo.