WORKERS MAY BE ONLY HALF AS PRODUCTIVE AS THOUGHT - Irish workers may be only half as productive as OECD data published earlier this week suggests, according to figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO). 

The OECD figures, published on Tuesday, suggested Irish workers are the most productive on the planet, adding an average of $99.50 (€87) to the value of the Irish economy for every hour they worked in 2017. This put them ahead in workers in competitor countries such as the United Kingdom, France and Germany. The Republic’s rate was also nearly twice the OECD average. However, the CSO has released details of a forthcoming study, showing workers in the domestic sector here, which excludes multinationals, added an average $54.20 (€47.87) to the value of the economy for every hour they worked in 2017. This was less than the OECD average, says the Irish Times. When multinational employees are included, the hourly rate here jumped to $87.33 (€77), which was more in keeping with the OECD’s original finding. Goodbody economist Dermot O’Leary said the figures tell a tale of two economies in Ireland, "hyper-productive foreign multinationals, while the indigenous sectors have lagged significantly behind. The problem here is that the performance of the multinationals hides some underlying problems," he said.

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DILOSK BIDS TO SECURITISE €220m OF MORTGAGES - Dilosk, the Dublin-based non-bank lender, is planning a fresh securitisation of up to €220m of Irish mortgages it has originated since 2017, the Irish Independent has learned. 

The figure will represent all the buy-to-let mortgages that have been drawn down by Dilosk clients since it started lending in January 2017 via the ICS Mortgages brand that it acquired in 2014 from Bank of Ireland. The planned securitisation - which sees mortgage-backed bonds listed on the stock market - will be Dilosk's third since 2015. Its first offer in 2015 involved the securitisation of €206m of mortgages it acquired with the purchase of ICS. In 2017, Dilosk bought €160m of mortgages that had been originated by GE Capital. Last October, it bought the €182m Irish mortgage book of Leeds Building Society, which exited the market here. Last November, Dilosk completed the securitisation of a €268m pool of mortgages that had been originated by GE and Leeds Building Society. That securitisation had been two times oversubscribed, according to Dilosk CEO and co-founder Fergal McGrath. He told the newspaper that the securitisation of the buy-to-let mortgages is dependent on market conditions in the second quarter, but could be in the €200m to €220m range. It will involve all the drawn-down buy-to-let mortgages originated by ICS at the time it's executed.

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CYBER SECURITY SECTOR SET TO TAKE OFF - A new cyber-security cluster has set its sights on more than doubling the size of the industry in Ireland in the coming years. 

Deloitte once highlighted Ireland as a country primed to attract some significant cybersecurity investment in the coming years, with well-qualified graduates, with an English-speaking workforce along with its proximity to Europe all among the aspects in the country's favour. Recognising the opportunity, a number of well-placed multi-nationals and academic bodies have pooled resources and, backed by IDA Ireland, are working to ensure that the country makes the most of the potential for new job creation and innovation. Cyber Ireland, supported by IDA Ireland and facilitated by Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), is aiming to ensure this continues for the foreseeable future, writes the Irish Examiner. The national cluster launched late last year and was met with considerable interest, according to those involved. Local, national and international media coverage greeted the announcement of the initiative, which aims to provide a collective to voice to represent the needs of the cybersecurity sector across the country. 

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NO-DEAL BREXIT: UK EXPORTERS RISK BEING LOCKED OUT OF WORLD'S HARBOURS - British exporters sending goods to far-flung destinations in the coming days risk being locked out of harbours around the world as a no-deal Brexit looms, business leaders have warned.

Independent trade experts and the UK's biggest business groups said exporters could be dispatching goods from UK ports imminently that would not arrive until after the 29 March deadline. This raised the prospect of goods being stuck in ports or facing hefty additional costs in the event of a disorderly Brexit, says today's Guardian. The warning came as the Bank of England warned the UK economy was on course for its weakest year since the global financial crisis, as evidence suggested Brexit jitters were spreading. It also emerged on Thursday that civil servants drafted a radical series of economic policy options after the 2016 Brexit referendum, which included slashing regulation, cutting taxes and removing tariffs. The cross-Whitehall work, known as Project After, was then shelved when the government decided to reject the idea of a "race to the bottom" on rights and standards, government sources said. But as the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit grows, some ministers and officials have returned to the work in search of emergency levers to pull in the event of a downturn, the Guardian has been told.