Opening Bell: Euro-sterling parity warning, Cisco job cuts, Irish business sentiment down

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

The euro will reach parity within 18 months, HSBC has predicted.

The global bank's warning should come as a blow to Irish exporters. Swiss financial services giant UBS and Spanish lender Satander also believe that the the UK economy requires further weakness.

However, specialist bank Investec has told the Irish Independent that while the pound may approach the 90 pence range, it will settle around the mid-80 mark.

Sterling hit a three-year low this week, with one euro briefly buying you 87 pence.

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Irish business sentiment has fallen to its lowest level in three and a half years.

The KBC Bank Ireland and Chartered Accountants Ireland business sentiment index noted that sentiment has "worsened markedly" in the past three months, as the Brexit vote hurts confidence.

While business activity has only marginally dropped over the summer, companies are exercising more caution when it comes to their prospects.

Some 80% of Irish firms believe Brexit will have an effect on them

The summer 2016 sentiment index was at 99.9, down from 117.7 in the spring quarter - the sharpest quarterly fall since the third quarter of 2010.

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Cisco Systems has confirmed that it will cut 5,500 jobs worldwide, marking the company's second major lay-off in two years.

The cuts will reduce the networking equipment company's global workforce by approximately 7%.

It's not yet known what effect, if any, the job losses will have on Cisco's 300-strong Irish workforce.

The news came as Cisco announced a 2% drop in revenue. It did however announce a 21% rise in quarterly profits, beating analysts' estimates.

A CRN report yesterday had anticipated 14,000 jobs to be lost, with Cisco declining to comment at the time.

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A major upskilling seminar for jobseekers takes place in Cork today.

The annual Springboard+ Information Day will offer advice and guidance to people looking to begin a higher education course.

Over 6,000 courses are available – including ICT, biopharma, construction and tourism.

Dr. Vivienne Patterson of the Higher Education Authority says the project to date has been a huge success:

"This initiative has been running since 2011, where we had upwards of 15% unemployment.

"Thankfully we're in a bit of a different space at the minute, but we still have almost 8% unemployment rates, so there's plenty of people still out there available to take up these courses."

Entrance is free, and no registration or sign-up is required.  The event takes place from noon to 5pm at the Metropole Hotel in Cork City.