There has been a notable improvement in sentiment in the tourism sector, according to Fáilte Ireland's latest tourism barometer.

The barometer records 74% of respondents to its survey of a sample of 745 from across the industry as being upbeat about their 2014 performance.

A similar survey in 2008 found just 14% of respondents were upbeat.

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Irish exploration company Providence Resources says negotiations are at an advanced stage on a farm-out agreement at its Barryroe oil field off the coast at Cork.

Farm-out agreements involve a bigger oil company taking a stake in an oil field after a smaller company has made some of the early running.

In half-year results this morning, Providence reported a €3.4m loss for the period to the end of June, compared to a €1.3m loss for first half of 2013.

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Homebuyers should be limited to borrowing a maximum of four times their combined income for a couple, according to a new report on the property market from Davy.

The report also recommends that buyers should be restricted to a mortgage of no more than 80% of the purchase price of a home.

The report urges the Central Bank to take action to ensure borrowers are not overextending themselves.

Davy concludes that although house prices are still 40% below the peak of the market in 2007, they are far from cheap.

At their peak, it says, house prices in Ireland were over nine times the national average income. The current level is about five times average income.

By contrast, in the UK prices are slightly less than five times average income.

The report also raises concerns about sustainability of mortgages debt for some borrowers as interest rates rise from their current low levels over the 25-35 year time horizon of a home loan.

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The United States is set to overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's leading producer of petrol products for the first time since 1991.

US production levels have come level with output from Saudi at 11.5m barrels a day, according to the International Energy Agency.

The US development is down to advances in exploration technology which have made more US oil fields viable.

Since 2012 US oil output has increased by 3.5m barrels a day and is now on track to outstrip that of Saudi Arabia within the next two months.