US-China posturing, Brexit’s impact, stockbroker windfall and car dealers unite

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

The Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe (right) met yesterday with  chancellor of the exchequer Sajid Javid about the UK government’s plans for exiting the EU

The Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe (right) met yesterday with chancellor of the exchequer Sajid Javid about the UK government’s plans for exiting the EU

 

The ongoing trade war between the United States and China deepened considerably after the US Treasury labelled China a currency manipulator. Suzanne Lynch reports from Washington on the latest provocative move, while in his column this week Cliff Taylor warns that nervous markets are watching as new aggression replaces the old rules of interdependence.

The relationship between the UK and Ireland would “fundamentally change” in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has said. Mr Donohoe was speaking in the Irish Embassy in London after a meeting with chancellor of the exchequer Sajid Javid about the UK government’s plans for exiting the EU.

Meanwhile ratings agency Moody’s warned on Tuesday that Brexit and the Republic’s €200 billion-plus national debt threaten the strong economy.

Cardboard box maker Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) said on Tuesday its Italian unit has been fined €124 million as authorities in the country found that 50 paper and packaging groups had engaged in anti-competitive practices.

The State’s smallest stockbroking firm Campbell O’Connor, which is in the process of winding up after 59 years in business, made a €9.45 million gain on the sale of its stake in the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE) early last year, writes Joe Brennan.

Irish car dealers are calling on the Government to delay any major reforms of the current motor tax regime for at least 12 months. The dealers, who have contacted local TDs across the State, warn that any changes which push up the prices of new cars will put jobs at risk and result in a significant drop in tax revenue.

Holidaymakers will learn this week if they face possible disruption when the results of two separate Ryanair pilots’ strike ballots become known. Barry O’Halloran reports.

Finally, in her London Briefing column, Fiona Walsh reckons that HSBC’s decision to fire chief executive John Flint raises just as many questions about the chairman of the bank, who appointed him in the first place.