Opening Bell: New low for the Euro, ESRI's housing concerns, Irish Christmas spending climbs

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

The value of the euro has dropped to a 20-month low against the dollar after the resignation of Italy's prime minister.

At one point it hit $1.05, it's lowest level since March last year.

Matteo Renzi promised to stand down if he lost a referendum on reforming the country's constitution - which he did.

Hannah Roberts is a journalist in Rome.

She says it's a boost for populist opposition movements, which could bring the country's membership of the single currency into question:

"The Five Star leaders have spoken tonight and refused to rule out a referendum on the euro. So if they did get in, that is a possibility."

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Irish banks could have problems lending enough cash to solve the housing crisis.

The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has said that demand for housing could rise by a third in the next eight years, to 30,000 units a year.

That's prompted concerns lenders would struggle to give out enough homeloans using deposits.

The think tank is suggesting the Central Bank could make regular changes to mortgage rules to work with the shifting market.

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Irish households will spend an average of more than €2,500 on Christmas 2016.

According to Retail Ireland, that's a jump of €26 on last year's figure.

Its latest report says prices will remain low due to "aggressive" competition between traders.

Retail Ireland director Thomas Burke says it's a positive time for consumers:

"All of key economic indicators are pointing in the right direction. We've seen employment climb by about 3% compared to Christmas of 2015... over two million people are now employed by the state.

"Disposable income in the first half of the year was up close to 2%, and prices are down over 3% in the last quarter, and nearly 9% over the three years. So what that tells us is that it's a really good time to be an Irish consumer."

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A new online guide to help young people find work is being launched by the charity SpunOut.ie.

'Compass' asks jobseekers to enter details about themselves before suggesting a personalised plan to employment.

The search tool also has information on education, social welfare and training.

Director of SpunOut.ie, Ian Power said:

"You're not going to be giving us your name, or your date of birth, or any information like that...

"The site itself is totally secure, but just to put your mind at ease, there's nothing that we'll be taking from you that will be in any way identifying."