Export growth was at a three year high between July and September last year, according to the Investec Ireland Export Analysis Report. Philip O'Sullivan, the chief economist with Investec, explained that the report reflects export potential based on the performance of our key trading partners. "The very strong performances in the US and UK is something that's feeding into a brighter outlook for 2013," he stated. 

Performance in the euro zone, however, resulted in a lag on growth. "The euro zone is a bit like a super tanker. It takes a while to turn it around. GDP was down for seven straight quarters until it turned around marginally in the second quarter. Prospects are expected to improve, albeit off a very low base," the economist said. 

Philip O'Sullivan pointed out that 80% of our exports go to North America and Europe. "Indigenous firms will benefit from the pickup in our current key trading partners but then we need to look at diversifying geographically in the years ahead," he said. Looking ahead to future performance, Philip O'Sullivan said the manufacturing PMIs compiled by Investec showed that export orders continued to grow for the past few months which should translate into good growth for 2014.

MORNING BRIEFS - Drinks group C&C has reported resilient trading in its third financial quarter in its core Scottish and Irish markets. But the company said that the UK overall remains a challenging market where cider sales were under pressure. It is still guiding for double-digit operating profit growth in the current financial year.

***  A day after the World Bank issued a very upbeat assessment on the prospects for global growth, IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned that deflation has the potential to hamper what she reminded us is still a fragile recovery. Central Banks around the world like to keep inflation running at around 2% - anything over can lead to overheating, but anything vastly under that can be damaging too. This is a problem that the European Central Bank is grappling with - inflation has been trailing at around 1% or under for the past few months.

*** Shannon airport has stemmed a decline in passenger numbers in its first year as an independent entity. It comes after five successive years of declines, but it managed to turn that around in 2013 posting a marginal increase in numbers to 1.4 million passengers. The bulk of the growth came in the latter half of the year thanks mainly to transatlantic routes where volumes were up 22%.

*** Yahoo's chief operating officer Henrique de Castro is to leave the firm this week. It has been just a year since he was brought on board by CEO Melissa Meyer to turn its advertising business around. The loss is  expected to be an expensive loss for the company as de Castro was one of Silicon Valley's most highly-paid executives. He may receive a multi-million-dollar severance package.

*** Apple has been ordered by the Federal Trade Commission in the US to refund customers $32.5m to settle complaints over in-app purchases on their devices by children without their parents' consent. The company will also be required to change its billing procedures to make sure customers have given consent before they are charged.