Your Business Week: New chief for European Central Bank, property prices

December's property report marks a close to a complex year of growth and trepidation

End-of-year figures for property sales show a slight cooling-off in the otherwise upward trajectory for asking prices. Photographer: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

End-of-year figures for property sales show a slight cooling-off in the otherwise upward trajectory for asking prices. Photographer: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

 

Monday

Indicators: Irish construction PMI (Jan); UK manufacturing and industrial production (Dec), GDP (Dec), construction output (Dec), business investment (Q4); US GDP (Q4), personal income and spending (Dec), consumer inflation expectations (Jan).

Philip Lane and the European Central Bank

The decision on Central Bank Governor Philip Lane’s nomination as chief economist of the European Central Bank is due on Monday.

Should Central Bank governor Philip Lane be elevated to the role of chief economist of the European Central Bank this week, he will become the first Irish board representative in the institution’s history.

Mr Lane, a Harvard-educated former Trinity College professor, was nominated by the Government last month.

It followed his aborted nomination to vice-president of the bank last year, a move that was reversed in order to avoid “divisions” in Europe. Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said he would canvass his European counterparts to embrace Mr Lane’s candidacy.

The eurogroup will agree on a candidate on Monday, followed by an Ecofin meeting of finance ministers on Tuesday to adopt a formal recommendation to the European Council. In the run up to this week’s process, Mr Lane had been reported to be highly regarded by finance ministers and even that his election could go uncontested.

He comes with strong credentials. Announcing his nomination last month, Mr Donohoe said the governor had done an “exemplary job” in the Central Bank during a period of economic stability.

Tuesday

Results: Under Armour, Molson Coors Brewin, Groupon, Trip Advisor, Marriott International.

Indicators: Irish consumer confidence (Jan); US business optimism index (Jan).

Wednesday

Results: Hibernia REIT, Smurfit Kappa Group, Tullow Oil, Hilton Worldwide, Yelp.

Indicators: Irish trade statistics (Nov); Euro zone industrial production (Dec); UK PPI input and output (Jan), retail price index (Jan), inflation (Jan); US inflation (Jan).

Meetings: Bioenergy Future Ireland conference (Croke Park Conference Centre, Dublin 3); European Financial Forum (Dublin Castle, Dublin 2).

Thursday

Results: AerCap Holdings, DSM, Norwegian Air, Coca Cola, CBS, Kraft Heinz, West Pharmaceutical Services.

Indicators: Irish inflation (Jan), residential property prices (Dec); Euro zone employment change (Q4), GDP (Q4); German GDP (Q4); US PPI (Jan).

Meetings: Agri-Careers Expo for agriculture sector (RDS, Dublin 4); Dublin Chamber cyber security business breakfast (Dublin Chamber, 7 Clare Street, Dublin 2); Gabriel Bernardino, chair of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority talk on Systemic Risk in Insurance Sector (Institute of International and European Affairs, North Great George’s Street, Dublin 1).

Residential property

Alongside falling unemployment numbers, December’s statistics on dreaded residential property prices will close the final chapter on a year of two contrasting economic tales – one a welcome throwback to happier times, and one more foreboding.

Residential prices increased by 7.1 per cent nationally in the year to November, according to the Central Statistics Office which will cap off its year of reporting on Thursday.

Things appear to be cooling though – November’s figures compared with an increase of 8.4 per cent in the year to October and of 11.2 per cent in the 12 months to November, 2017.

And yet our complicated relationship with property continues. A report from the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland at the end of last month found home-owners’ “excessive and unrealistic expectations” of the value of their homes would be the biggest obstacle to closing sales in 2019.

In fact, it is such unrealistic expectations that are expected to be the major problem in moving property – bigger even than the difficulties buyers can experience in securing mortgages.

The Society’s annual property review suggested demand would increase across all property types this year, with prices expected to rise by 4 per cent.

Friday

Results: Moody’s, Pepsi Co.

Indicators: Irish balance of trade (Dec); UK retail sales (Jan); US retail sales (Jan), imports and exports (Jan), manufacturing and industrial production (Jan).

Meetings: CIPD HR Awards (InterContinental Hotel, Dublin 2); Central Bank 2019 Insurance Conference (Convention Centre Dublin).

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