Opening Bell: ESRI cuts Irish growth forecast, ISEQ's day of gains, Sterling's potential 'Black Friday'

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Forecast economic growth in Ireland has been reduced slightly, according to the latest report from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

It predicts GDP will grow by 4.6% this year - down slightly on the 4.8% previously predicted.

This is partially due to fears over Thursday's vote on EU membership in the UK.

Unemployment is expected to fall to 7.6% by the end of this year.

Economic growth is now being driven more by domestic activity, rather than foreign trade, according to the research.

Research professor with the ESRI is Kieran McQuinn:

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Irish shares benofitted yesterday as markets bet on the UK voting to remain in the EU following the publication of polls which suggested a late swing towards a 'remain' vote.

The ISEQ registered its fastest daily rise in more than six years.

It closed up 4.55% at 6,264 - the largest gain since the day Ireland entered its international bailout in 2010.

Ryanair, Paddy Power Betfair, and CRH were among the top gainers.

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George Soro, the billionaire currency speculator, has warned that sterling faces a potential Black Friday if it chooses to leave the EU.

"Sterling is almost ­certain to fall steeply and quickly if leave wins the referendum [...] I would expect this devaluation to be bigger and also more disruptive than the 15% ­devaluation that occurred in September 1992, when I was fortunate enough to make a ­substantial profit for my hedge fund investors at the expense of the Bank of England and the British government," he told The Guardian.

He added that there is little scope for the Bank of England to cut interest rates and that exporters will not see a bump in sales which will be proportional to the size of the currency's fall.

The pound rose yesterday as investors responded to opinion polls which indicated an increase in support for the remain side in the 'Brexit' vote.

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Jeremy Corbyn has told Sky News Britain should stay in the European Union - but it has to change "quite dramatically."

Speaking to a live Sky News audience made up of young people aged 18-35 - his only live set-piece television appearance of the campaign - the Labour leader said voting to remain in the EU on Thursday was the" rational" choice.

Polls show the result will be close, and turnout among younger voters - who broadly back staying - could be key.

Mr Corbyn acknowledged his support for the 28-nation bloc was not "unconditional," but said it was better for Britain to work together with other countries rather than strike out on its own.

He also drew applause from the audience when he hit out at a "bigoted" poster promoted by UKIP leader Nigel Farage - hours before the killing of Labour MP Jo Cox last week - which showed a column of migrants walking under the slogan "Breaking Point".

 

Additional reporting by IRN