Opening Bell: Sterling slides, Trump says Germany controls the EU, IBEC seeks bending of state aid rules

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The pound's recovered slightly after falling to its lowest level against the dollar in more than three months.

Sterling fell yesterday as reports circulated saying that British PM Theresa May will be in no mood to compromise tomorrow as she gives a major speech outlining the UK's Brexit plans.

So far, her public comments have suggested that the UK will lean towards a 'hard Brexit' which will prioritise control of the movement of people over economic goals, such as access to the EU's Single Market.

£1 currently buys €1.13 and $1.20.

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Donald Trump has pledged to secure a quick post-Brexit trade deal with the UK in an interview with MP Michael Gove.

The US President-elect told The Times newspaper leaving the European Union would be a "great thing" for the UK, hailing the referendum result as a demonstration that British people "want their own identity."

In contrast to Barack Obama, who said the UK would be at the "back of the queue" for trade talks, Mr Trump made it clear that a deal with Britain would be a priority for his administration.

He said: "We're gonna work very hard to get it done quickly and done properly. Good for both sides."

Mr Trump added that he believes the Union is, "Basically a vehicle for Germany."

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An IBEC group representing the food and drink sector wants EU state aid rules to be changed so the government can financially support companies through Brexit.

Food and Drink Industry Ireland says Irish food and drink exports are typically four to six times more exposed to the UK than exports from other EU countries.

FDII Director Paul Kelly said: "The Irish agri-food and drink sector is uniquely exposed. There is a compelling case for exceptional state aid support to minimise the economic fallout and job losses. Already the currency squeeze is putting intense strain on exporters.

"This pressure is likely to intensify as the challenges and economic costs of a hard Brexit crystalise. The hardening of EU and UK negotiating positions mean we must plan for a very difficult Brexit process and the high possibility of a divisive outcome."

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Bus Eireann workers are expected to be updated today on cost saving plans at the company.

Reports claim the proposals, aiming to save up to €8m will include a ban on staff overtime and an end to the practice of carrying over annual leave.

It emerged last week that a consultant's report had warned shutting down the Expressway service could be the only way to secure Bus Eireann's financial future.

Bus Éireann have confirmed that Expressway will remain part of the company’s business, but it says changes are urgently required to address the company’s 'adverse financial situation.'

 

Additional reporting, IRN