Budgeting for prosperity

 

Change will be the order of the day when Charlie McCreevy rises from his seat in the Dail to deliver his first Budget on Wednesday. Apart altogether from the fact that this will be the first December budget, it is also the first time in recent memory that a Minister for Finance will budget for a Exchequer surplus. He will also have a long lead-in time to any of the much-heralded tax give-aways he finally decides to hand out; they will not come into affect until April while consumers will immediately feel the effects of any indirect tax rises he makes, such as on petrol or cigarettes.

British interest rates: Homeowners and businesses are braced for further bad news from the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee which meets to decide interest rates this week.

Economists are of the opinion that a further 0.25 per cent rise in base rates is on the cards, taking the rate to 7.5 per cent. The announcement is due on Thursday.

Some in the City believe rates could peak at 7.75 per cent early next year and stay there for the remainder of 1998, although a few are predicting rates could go as high as 8 per cent.

Monday

Results: ACAL (H1), AEA Technology (H1), AIT Group (H1), Allen (H1), Asset Management, Bath Press Group (H1), Compco Holdings (H1), Deltron Electronics, Guinness Flight Extra Inc, Imperial Tobacco, Prism Rail (H1), SBS Group, Scottish & Newcastle (H1), James Smith Estates (H1), Wainhomes (H1), H Young, Zeneca (H1).

A.G.M.: Anglo United (e.g.m.), Colt Telecom (e.g.m.), Kleinwort Dev Fund, Paterson Zochonis, Stratagem Group.

Indicators: British consumer credit (Oct) and purchasing managers' index (Nov); US NAPM (Nov) and construction spending.

Others: Biggest banking conference in the world takes place in New Orleans with 7,000 attending (to Fri).

Tuesday

Results: Alba (H1), Allied Colloids Group (H1), Aortech International (H1), Character Group, Chrysalis Group, East Surrey Holdings (H1), Eldridge Pope & Co, Field Group (H1), Get Group, Hazelwood Foods (H1), Merrydown (H1), Morrison Construction (H1), Norbain (H1), OMI International (H1), Sanderson Electronics, Scottish Radio Holdings, Shaftesbury, Siebe (H1), Stagecoach (H1), Videologic Group (H1).

A.G.M.: British Land (e.g.m.), Dorling Kindersley, Murray VCT, Netcall, Prestbury Leisure (e.g.m.), White Young Green, Tibbett & Britten.

Indicators: Irish EBR (Nov); British official reserves (Q3); US leading indicators (Oct).

Others: Irish Permanent V Mr Kelvin Smyth back in the High Court.

Wednesday

Results: Bass, Blick, BTG (H1), Carlton Communications, Heal's, Heath (Samuel), MEPC, Orbis (H1), Quiligotti (H1), Readicut.

A.G.M.: BWI, Contra-Cyclical Inv Tst (e.g.m.), Fayrewood (e.g.m.), L Gardner, IFG Group (e.g.m.), Lady in Leisure, Provend, Scottish Metro, Tuskar Resources.

Meetings: Institute of Directors in Ireland and Institute of Management Consultants in Ireland seminar on corporate fraud; Bank of England monetary policy committee (to Thurs).

Indicators: US new home sales (Nov); German industrial production (Oct) and manufacturing new orders (Oct); Japanese GDP (Q3).

Others: Minister for Finance, Charlie McCreevy introduces his first Budget.

Thursday

Results: Abbeycrest (H1), Avon Rubber, Denby Group, Dewhurst, Expro International (H1), GEC (H1), Grand Metropolitan, Great Universal Stories (H1), Greencore, Hanson (H1), Hawtin, M L Holdings (H1), Stakis, TLG (H1).

A.G.M.: Dana Petroleum (e.g.m.), Umeco (e.g.m.).

Meetings: Bundesbank Council meets; Bank of England monetary policy committee.

Indicators: Irish credit growth (Oct) and employment in construction (Oct); British purchasing managers' index on services (Nov); US unit labour costs (Q3) and housing completions (Oct); German unemployment (Nov) and GDP (Q3); Italian consumer prices (Nov); French GDP (Q3).

Friday

Results: Courts (H1), Greene King (H1).

A.G.M.: Associated British Foods, Highland Distilleries.

Indicators: Irish unemployment (Nov); US non-farm payrolls and factory orders (Oct).

Others: Rapid Technology launches on DCM and AIM markets.