Brexit and Boris leaks, Bloomberg, Trump and trade wars

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

UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson on the Border issue: “We’re allowing the whole of our agenda to be dictated by this folly.”

UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson on the Border issue: “We’re allowing the whole of our agenda to be dictated by this folly.”


The never-ending Brexit saga took another turn last night with the British prime minister Theresa May under fresh pressure from within her Cabinet after UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson warned of a Brexit “meltdown” and called for “guts” in exit talks. Mr Johnson also said fears about the Border on the island of Ireland were out of proportion. Meanwhile, Mr Johnson’s deputy, Sir Alan Duncan, raised eyebrows in Westminster when he floated the possibility of a referendum on the exit deal.

His comments are the latest Brexit headache for Mrs May, who is in Canada for the G7 summit. The two-day meeting will be dominated by the potential for a global trade war. A report out this morning claims Ireland is the most vulnerable nation in an all-out trade war. The Republic was ranked first of 42 industrialised and emerging states in the group’s latest globalisation index, which ranks states on the basis of their levels of economic, social and technological integration with the rest of the world.

The man who once described Trump as a “dangerous demagogue” was in Dublin this week. Billionaire businessman and three-time former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg took time out from his visit to meet Laura Slattery and discuss presidential bids, healthcare and climate change and his financial news network.

Staying with global economics, Argentina and the International Monetary Fund have reached an agreement for a three-year, $50 billion standby lending arrangement, which the government said it sought to provide a safety net and avoid the frequent crises of the country’s past.

Closer to home, Kingspan chief executive Gene Murtagh has netted more than €3.4 million from selling shares in the insulation manufacturer on Thursday. Kingspan gave him the share options in 2013 under an incentive scheme dating back to 2008.

Ahead of Monday’s start of MoneyConf in Dublin, the city of Valencia has submitted an open bid to host the Web Summit over a 10-year period worth up to €170 million. At least eight European cities are now believed to have expressed an interest in hosting the technology-focused conference, which began in Dublin.

In our agenda this week Paddy Smyth looks at whether Italy is using the EU as a scapegoat for its own fundamental economic - and governance - flaws, while in Caveat Mark Paul says Leo Varadkar’s promse to create an “FBI for white collar crime” is all talk until he shows us the money.

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