Analysis > David Murphy

Cheap oil isn’t all good news

Oil prices have been steadily dropping – a development welcomed by many people. But there is a shadow to what might look like good news for consumers. In 2014 oil prices were an average of $99 a barrel and last year they were an average of $52. This year has been marked by continuing price falls with costs dipping below $28 – a surprisingly low figure. Economically this has benefits – consumers enjoy lower costs for petrol and diesel – …

Don’t let job projects become political footballs

What can only be described as a remarkable economic recovery is well under way. Also under way is the stampede of Government politicians attempting to take credit for it. Some observers are sceptical about the flurry of good economic news in the twilight weeks of the current Fine Gael and Labour coalition. They are right to be sceptical. As the battle for votes cranks up, and figures are brandished like calling cards by Government politicians, the public may find it …

Five things new Central Bank boss Philip Lane needs to watch in 2016

Mortgage arrears: The outgoing Governor of the Central Bank Patrick Honohan said his biggest regret was the inability to deal with homeowners who were behind on loan repayments. While the overall position is improving, there are still 38,000 mortgage accounts two years or more in arrears. It is this cohort of borrowers who are of most concern. Many will only be solved by insolvency or repossession in 2016. Contrary to expectations, the level of repossessions has remained relatively low. To …

Not true to say economic rebound is confined to Dublin

Politicians of different hues frequently assert that the economic recovery is a Dublin-only phenomenon. Last week the Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said as much on the News at One on RTÉ Radio 1. But where is the evidence for this? Last month University College Cork economist Seamus Coffey measured the performance of Cork city and county with the national average. His findings, which were presented at a conference hosted by RTÉ, showed Cork was outperforming. He revealed while employment …

Government’s rent certainty overlooks exodus of landlords

The Government has finally moved to limit landlords’ ability to increase rent for tenants. But the important question is whether the new measures will help achieve the aim of helping families who face homelessness. Perhaps the most crucial point included in the reforms is that instead of being able to increase costs to tenants annually, now landlords will be restricted to one rent rise every two years. While the Environment Minister Alan Kelly published details of the changes he is …

How much of the recovery is due to Government?

The Irish economy is growing quickly. But how much of this is as a result of actions by the Government? Part of the answer to that question lies in examining factors that are beyond the control of ministers and civil servants. The Central Bank reckons Gross Domestic Product, which measures national income, will expand by a remarkable 5.8% this year. One of the big reasons for that rapid turnaround is that international winds are helpfully filling the sails of the …

New Central Bank boss has huge task ahead

Anointing academic Philip Lane to the top position in the Central Bank is a healthy decision. He will be an independent voice leading what is intended to be a strong stand-alone institution. The expression in corporate governance is that “a fish rots from the head”. If there wasn’t an autonomous leader in the Central Bank then the rest of the institution would unlikely be free of outside influences. In the past, external pressures came from ministers, unions and bankers. Civil …

Failure to launch – the fallout from Denis O’Brien’s aborted IPO

Denis O’Brien had hired the big guns for the flotation of Digicel on Wall Street. Bankers in JP Morgan, Barclays, UBS, Credit Suisse, Davy, Citi Group and Deutsche Bank don’t come cheap. The US corporate advisors are sometimes called the Masters of the Universe usually because they hold themselves in high regard. Their clients are willing to pay big bucks because suits on Wall Street bring credibility to an Initial Public Offering or IPO. Floating shares on the New York …

NAMA loses control of its own narrative

NAMA’s self image of an agency that efficiently and honestly manages the fallout from the banking collapse is being slowly eroded. Independent TD Mick Wallace this week made new allegations in the Dáil, which he says shows the organisation was behaving in a “rotten” fashion. His damaging claims allege skulduggery related to the sale of vast assets in the name of the Irish taxpayer. So far nothing concrete has been proven against NAMA. Perhaps nothing will. There are multiple investigations …

People in long-term mortgage arrears risk being left behind

Post-crisis Ireland is still struggling with two particularly big problems: Unemployment and mortgage arrears. While the jobless headache is improving, albeit slowly, the issue of people who are in long-term arrears with their home loans is as intractable as ever. At the end of June there were 38,000 mortgage accounts more than two years behind on repayments. Despite the improving economy this figure is growing. This is the group of homeowners who are most at risk of losing their homes …