Opening Bell: Motor insurance hikes, Clinton's economic plan, Alibaba's growth

Get up to speed with today's breaking Irish and international business news

Irish motorists are facing 40% hikes in car insurance premiums.

The average cover has increased to €970 and it's expected that drivers will have to pay an additional 15% by the end of 2016.

According to reports in the Irish Daily Mail, the increases are down to steep compensation payouts, fraud, uninsured drivers, and collapsing insurance companies.

Meanwhile, it's emerged a Government taskforce set up to address the high costs of policies has met just once.

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Ireland's largest pilot union has offered to withdraw its opposition to Norwegian Air International’s plans to offer transatlantic flights if it can make certain commitments regarding labour rights.

The airline has been trying to get permission to fly to the US for two years - it faces stiff opposition across the Atlantic where aviation unions, and others in Europe, claim Norwegian Air intends to use its Irish air carrier permit to employ low-paid crew, a claim consistently denied by the airline itself.

Norwegian Air International (NAI) has also published new figures showing that the Dublin-based carrier returned a loss of €53.4m last year.

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Hillary Clinton hopes to capitalised on her improved poll performance unveiling her economic plan - she pledged to take a tougher line in trade disputes with countries, including China.

She also accused her rival Donald Trump of offering tax breaks to his millionaire and billionaire buddies.

Ms Clinton sought to paint an optimistic picture of the US to counter Mr Trump's gloomy depiction of the nation. She accused him of thinking that the US is a "third world country."

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Alibaba has posted its strongest revenue growth since going public - rising by 59% year-on-year to 32.15bn yuan (€4.3bn).

Despite concerns over China's economy - the company's e-commerce sites enjoyed better sales. It also saw an upswing in its cloud computing business.

The company did not offer any update on the US investigation into the sale of counterfeit goods on its sites.