Debt ceiling deal, consumer sentiment improves and why vulture funds aren’t like banks

Business Today: the best news, analysis and comment from The Irish Times business desk

We have a deal. After sometimes torturous negotiations, the Biden administration and US House of Representative Republicans led by Kevin McCarthy agreed terms to increase the US debt ceiling and head off a possible default on US debts. Martin Wall has the details, and analyses what it all means.

Consumer confidence rose to a 14-month high this month as concerns about the economic outlook eased, but cost-of-living pressures still curbed spending, the latest Credit Union Consumer Sentiment Index shows. Laura Slattery reports.

Laura also reports that barely a quarter of consumers believe that they are really receiving the advertised discount off a recommended retail price (RRP), according to a survey conducted for KPMG by polling company Red C.

Gas demand fell 14 per cent in April compared to March, Laura also reports, with several sectors requiring less energy during this period, according to Gas Networks Ireland. Demand dropped 10 per cent compared to April 2022, it said.


Irish brands’ reluctance to explore potential tie-ins with the gaming sector is resulting in missed opportunities to find new customers and build brand loyalty among a younger cohort of consumers, according to new research. Ian Curran has the story.

Irish companies hit a record in venture capital funding in the first quarter of the year, with investment increasing by almost a third, even as smaller companies saw a decline, new figures from the Irish Venture Capital Association indicate. Ciara O’Brien has the details.

In his column, Eoin Burke-Kennedy looks at the high interest rates investment funds, often referred to as vultures, are charging mortgage holders compared to banks. He asks why did our leaders saw funds treated customers the same as banks, when the evidence is clearly to the contrary.

One big issue with the downturn is that valuations of private companies has plunged. EY’s Grit Young writes that now may be the time for such companies to change how they are compensating workers as belts tighten.

Finally, workers fear cognitive decline as they get older, but as Pilita Clarke writes, that should not be the case.

Stay up to date with all our business news: sign up to our Business Today daily email news digest.