Opening Bell: Sterling powers Irish online shopping, the cost of cyber fraud, Britain's future-proof plan

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

Conventional shops have seen a drop in sales, as Irish consumers spend online to take advantage of the weakened of sterling.

The new Visa Irish Consumer Spending Index indicates "face-to-face" spending in shops fell slightly (nearly 0.5%) in the last 12 months, while online spending jumped 15%.

Overall, the consumer spending index is showing its weakest growth in nearly a year and a half.

Visa's Philip Konopik has said that the fall in the value of the British currency seems to be driving the growth in online shopping:

"With a general downwards trend in consumer expenditure... ecommerce is essentially bucking the trend so we assume that the sterling has a significant impact there."

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The average cost of cyber fraud to organisations in Ireland is €1.7 million.

Cyber attacks which pose huge risk to business have almost doubled since 2012.

Expert panels will discuss IT security topics, including the threat of ransomware and cyber resiliency, at Ireland's cybersecurity conference, InfoSec 2016, today.

Adrian Weckler, technology editor for the Irish Independent, says there is an increasing number of threats to companies:

"Most evidence, both published and anecdotal, shows that, in Ireland as well as in Europe and the rest of the world, because we have so many more connected devices now, there are lots more more ways to attack organisations and attacks are on the rise."

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Moody's has forecast that the Irish economy will be able to shake off the uncertainty triggered by the Brexit vote, the Irish Independent reports.

The ratings giant has sated that the country's economy will expand by 3.4% this year and 3.1% in 2017, continuing to outperform other European nations.

While more conservative than Department of Finance predictions. Moody's remains upbeat.

In a note, Moody's said:

"Although the United Kingdom's June 2016 vote to leave the European Union leaves Ireland's economy exposed, Moody's believes that the uncertainty created by the vote is manageable for Ireland over the outlook period."

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UK Chancellor Philip Hammond is planning to invest as much as £15bn into Britain's creaking transport network and hi-tech industries in an attempt to "future-proof" the economy from the turbulence of Brexit.

Hammond will back dozens of small-scale infrastructure projects across the UK to get shovel-ready road and rail links off the ground.

Sky News understands that Hammond has earmarked several billion for various schemes – and could spend up to £15bn on infrastructure overall – as he looks for boosts to economic growth.

Hammond also wants his infrastructure package to boost British productivity: better road and rail links should help to get people to work more quickly, while investment into the technology and science sectors should help create more highly skilled and better-paid jobs.