Opening Bell: Irish construction growth accelerates, NI's Brexit struggles, Trump's new plan

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Ireland’s construction sector continued to expand last month - the Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index rose from 59.7 in June to 61 in July. Any reading above 50 indicates growth.

Rising workloads meant that firms’ purchasing activity increased and companies took-on more staff.

Despite the uncertainty created by the Brexit vote, construction activity grew at its fastest rate in four months.

The report notes that the industry doesn't appear to be in the immediate “line of fire” following the UK’s referendum.

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Business confidence in Northern Ireland has fallen for the first time in more than a year following the Brexit vote.

The Ulster Bank PMI for July showed a decrease in new orders for the first time since April 2015.

The service industry registered the sharpest decline.

Firms faced increased costs as the weak sterling made imported items more expensive.

The report noted that the slowdown is in-line with data for other regions in the UK - and it isn't all bad news - companies continued to take on new staff and new export orders continued to grow.

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Underlying growth in the Irish economy was close to 6% last year, according to estimates from the National Treasury Management Agency.

The NTMA’s figures are the first calculation of Ireland’s growth for 2015 since the CSO indicated that the economy grew by 26% last year - the NTMA says these figures severely overstated economic activity.

The Irish Times reports that at a demonstration the NTMA raised concerns about the knock-on effects that the CSO figures will have - as EU rules require countries to reduce their deficits at a rate tied to their official GDP numbers.

Elsewhere - the NTMA has found that 10 companies contribute more than 40% of the country’s corporate tax take - that’s up from an average of 23% between 2008 and 2012.

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Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump is due to unveil a new economic plan later today.
The Financial Times reports that he will “re-orientate” his campaign amid alarm in the Republican Party as he loses ground to Hillary Clinton in the polls.

The Trump team has isolated the economy as an area where it believes it can make gains on Clinton.

The New Yorker is expected to claim that his policies will double US economic growth through putting fresh tariffs on Chinese goods, and re-negotiating international trade rules.

He will also unveil new tax incentives aimed at bringing American companies who operate abroad back to the US.