European stocks headed toward their highest level since 2000

European stocks headed toward their highest level since 2000 after the Federal Reserve said data indicated economic growth has moderated, fueling speculation it won’t be in a rush to raise interest rates.

All 19 industry groups on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced, led by miners.

BHP Billiton added 1.9 per cent, and Rio Tinto Group gained 1.4 per cent as industrial metals traded higher.

Economic growth must be backed by balance and respect

A powerful and positive dynamic is underway in the economy.

It offers the prospect of improving conditions for employees and citizens across the State but must be considered against the backdrop of our experience through the great global financial crisis during 2008-10.

The good news first. Irish economic momentum is picking up. You can see it anecdotally on the roads as traffic levels recover but the statistics are even more …

Report missed scale of bank losses

A report on the health of the Irish banking system — commissioned by the financial regulator in 2008 and relied upon by taoiseach Brian Cowen to justify the bank guarantee — drastically underestimated the extent of losses that would be made.

The report, compiled by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), found that in its worst case scenario, Irish banks would lose €10.6bn at most.

The figure pales in comparison to the €64bn taxpayer-funded …

GDP growth of 4.8% makes Ireland fastest growing EU economy

The economy grew by 4.8% of GDP last year – the fastest growing economy in the European Union, according to preliminary figures from the Central Statistics Office.

GNP – which strips out the effect of multinational companies – grew by 5.2%.

Net exports grew by 10.5%, while domestic demand – a key driver of jobs growth – grew by 3.5%.

Unemployment rate drops to 10.1% in February

Ireland’s unemployment rate declined another 0.2% in February, to reach 10.1%, its lowest level since 2009 — the last time the percentage figure was in single digits.

Latest data, published yesterday by the CSO, showed that 4,300 people came off the Live Register last month and back into work, reducing the seasonally adjusted total still on the register to 355,600. The number of long-term unemployed fell from 164,844 in January …

Exchequer returns fuel hope of beating deficit targets

Latest exchequer returns have raised hopes Ireland may beat its 2.7% of GDP budget deficit target for 2015.

The Department of Finance yesterday reported the generation of nearly €6.74bn in tax revenue for the first two months of this year, almost 16% up on the same period last year and 5.4%/€345m ahead of forecasts made in the last budget.

The figures also mean that the exchequer deficit amounted to just …