Irish businesses, particularly those with a vested interest in the British market, were studying every little development out of both London and Brussels last week, as at first it seemed we were closer to a degree certainty and a draft Brexit deal, before in-fighting within the Conservative Party promptly extinguished any such hopes. So, where does that leave Irish companies planning for the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union?

Financial services firm PwC is continually advising its clients on Brexit and its clear message to Irish businesses is to plan on the basis of a no-deal. Feargal O'Rourke, Managing Partner with PwC Ireland, said that any business which is serious about its long-term planning up to now has planned for a no-deal Brexit basis. "There is no business saying 'it will be all right on the night' and let us just keep going the way we are," he added. 

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Whether it is financial services and the offices that have just moved here or whether it is Irish companies trading with the UK and the rest of Europe, Mr O'Rourke said that at this stage virtually all of them have done some planning on the basis that a deal will not materialise. "It is tantalisingly close to a positive deal but no business I know is planning on the basis that it will be all right on the day," he added.

According to Feargal O'Rourke, PwC is walking companies through every part of their business and how the business is affected by the impact of trading with the UK. In some cases, the focus is on the company's sales to the UK, its supplies from the UK and or the movement of their people in and out of the UK - both Irish nationals and non-nationals.

In its assessment of last week's draft withdrawal agreement, PwC identified what it said was a lot of potential positives for business. Mr O'Rourke said that the draft deal offers the opportunity to delay the increased costs associated with Brexit until at least until the end of 2020, with most pencilling in further delays beyond that. At one level the prize at the end of this process could mean no change in our trading relationship with the UK, he stated. He also added that after talking to a number of business leaders, the view was that the draft deal was great for Northern Ireland with people in the North feeling that they will be part of the UK and part of Europe. 

Mr O'Rourke said it was inconceivable that a hard border - for people or business - could go back up again and at least last week's draft agreement - while not ideal - is being fully endorsed by PwC from an Irish business perspective. 


MORNING BRIEFS - For the first time in its history, the Asian-Pacific economic summit - known as APEC -  ended last night without a formal leaders' statement, with summit host Papua New Guinea, saying it was because of disagreements between its two biggest members - the US and China. The two countries are locked in an escalating trade war, slapping a raft of tariffs on each others' goods in recent months. The US and China revealed competing visions for the Asia-Pacific region at the summit.

*** Irish consumer spending is expected to reach €105 billion this year, which would eclipse the previous record hit during the Celtic Tiger in 2007. A new report from the Marketing Institute of Ireland and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School cites the expiration of the Government's Home Renovation Incentive scheme at the end of this year as a contributory factor behind the surge in spending. The study also says households are getting richer, mainly due to a rise in property prices. With household net worth per capita now slightly above €150,000, which is a rise of 

*** Britain's TSB Bank, a subsidiary of Spain's Sabadell, has named Debbie Crosbie as chief executive after its previous CEO resigned over a botched IT project. TSB serves more than five million customers from 550 branches across Britain. 

*** Nespresso, which is part of food giant Nestle, says it aims to use sustainable aluminium in all of its coffee capsules by 2020 under a deal with mining company Rio Tinto. Both companies have faced criticism for adding to pressure on the planet, with campaigners saying Nespresso coffee machines are wasteful and many of the used capsules end up in landfill.