Supermarket wars; making sense of housing data; taxing pensions

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

 A woman picks up a basket at the Aldi store. Aldi is accusing rivals Tesco and SuperValu of working deliberately to obstruct its expansion using planning objections. Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters

A woman picks up a basket at the Aldi store. Aldi is accusing rivals Tesco and SuperValu of working deliberately to obstruct its expansion using planning objections. Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters

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With the battle for consumers hotting up, retailer Aldi is accusing rivals Tesco and SuperValu of working deliberately to obstruct its expansion following a series of contested planning applications. Mark Paul has the details.

Another day, another set of housing figures. Eoin Burke-Kennedy reports on the latest data from Goodbody – which tracks housing by BER certification. It says new house numbers are up 77 per cent in the first 11 months of 2017. That’s the good news: the bad news? that equates to just around half of the Government measure for the same period.

Sticking with housing, Fiona Reddan looks at whether rent controls will start to show their teeth in 2018 and, if not, why they might be struggling.

The Central Bankis sanguine when it comes to housing, with minutes of its meeting before Christmas noting that the recent increase in house prices to an annual growth rate of 12 per cent was not out of line with economic fundamentals. Eoin Burke-Kennedy writes that the bank was also reassured by the recent moderation on commercial property prices.

Fiona also examines new clarification provided by Revenue on the subject of ARFs - the funds most retiring private sector workers are now putting their pension funds into. Moves to treat such funds as capital and not as a pension will mean a financial headache, especially for those looking to save money by retiring to lower cost, warmer climes abroad.

And Proinsias O’Mahony takes a look at what the experts have to say about the likely direction of stock markets in 2018. There’s little gloom after a remarkably volatile-free year, with most expecting the equivalent of Goldilocks’ porridge – not too hot and not too cold!

In her media column, Laura Slattery notes that when even a Gorilla channel makes sense to some, it’s time for people to more actively apply filters in their interaction with social media to edit out fake news.

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