Sputtering economy, Debenhams' woes, and mortgage interest rate predictions

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

Economic growth in the Republic of Ireland is expected to decline this year and next, according to a new forecast from the IMF. It warned that global outlook remains weak in the face of uncertainty. Gita Gopinath, IMF chief economist, said it was "a delicate moment for the global economy".

Her words of warning came as the EU prepared retaliatory tariffs against the US over subsidies to Boeing, significantly escalating transatlantic trade tensions hours after Washington vowed to hit the EU with $11 billion in duties over its support for Airbus.

It's business as usual at the Irish arm of troubled department store chain Debenhams, despite the UK parent entity being placed into administration. Mark Paul reports that customers, staff and suppliers have been reassured by management, though union offiicals say there are a lot of "worried people" working there at the moment. The retailer's lenders have taken control, after the struggling department store chain rejected an eleventh-hour offer of financial support from its biggest shareholder Sports Direct.

Analysing its fall from grace, Fiona Walsh explains how the antics of Sports Direct's Mike Ashley made a bad situation even worse for the Debenhams, arguing that his headline grabbing shenanigans are not so amusing when jobs are involved.


AIB has been ordered to pay €4,000 to a Syrian dentist over its refusal to open up a bank account for him due to his nationality. This was despite the fact he had been granted refugee status several months beforehand.

Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS) continued lending as the financial crisis deepened in 2008 despite a board decision to stop, former chairman, Michael Walsh said yesterday.

Meanwhile, Fiona Reddan reckons AIB's mortgage move - offering homeowners chance to lock in at 3.3 per cent rate for 10 years - suggests interest rates won't increase anytime soon.

Golfer Graeme McDowell and and Padraig Harrington's caddie Ronan Flood are among the investors to have backed Irish sports tech company Orreco in a€1.3 million funding round.

Cairn Homes chief executive Michael Stanley and his fellow company founders plan to sell more than ¤24 million worth of shares in the house builder, reports Barry O'Halloran.

In commercial property, Justin Comiskey reports on how six bidders are believed to be chasing the Reflector office block in the south Dublin docklands. With bids well above €160 million, it's one of the most closely watched sales of the year so far in the Irish investment market.

Michael McAleer

Michael McAleer

Michael McAleer is Motoring Editor, Innovation Editor and an Assistant Business Editor at The Irish Times