Opening Bell: HP jobs fears, Spicer on Norwegian Air, IMF's Greece warning

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Hundreds of jobs could be lost at the Hewlett Packard plant in Leixlip, Co Kildare.

Senior management are reportedly due to address staff later about the company's plans.

HP Inc employs around 500 people at the site, which manufactures inkjet cartridges and carries out research and development for the tech giant

Local Fianna Fáil TD Frank O'Rourke says people in the area are nervous about what may be announced later:

"There a very big employer in the area and actually a number of people locally and from within the constituency and even outside is employed at the plant.

I suppose the news that's breaking comes as a surprise to everybody and most people wouldn't have been expecting this."

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The International Monetary Fund has warned that Greece's debts are on an "explosive" path which could threaten the sustainability of the Eurozone.

This is despite years of austerity measures and economic reforms in the country, the Irish Independent reports.

The IMF has called on the EU to provide "significant debt relief" to it, as it becomes increasingly unwilling to fund further bailouts itself.

Greece's EU creditors have previously ruled out any additional rescue programme until the current one ends next year.

Europgroup president, Jeroen Dijesselbloem repeated that position last night, dismissing the IMF assessment as overly pessimistic and stating that there would be no Greek debt pardon.

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White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has indicated that Donald Trump will not revoke a licence issued to Norwegian Air International, allowing it to provide low-cost transatlantic flights from Cork.

Spicer said that the US has a "huge economic interest" in the deal and that – while he did not want to "get ahead of the president" – it would be important for US jobs.

More than 100 members of Congress wrote to Trump last month, asking him to overturn Barack Obama's December decision to grant the licence. The US Airline Pilots' Association has also been critical of the deal, fearing that American jobs would be lost as a result.

A Norwegian Air spokesman has said that the company is doing exactly what the US Administration wants, and that it will announce plans for new routes between Ireland and the US in the coming weeks.

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Nearly one-fifth of all wholesale finance activity within the European Union could shift to Ireland, according to a Brussels-based think tank.

A new Bruegel report says that Ireland is in line to become a major European financial power house after Brexit, with roughly €1.8 trillion of UK banking assets up for grabs.

Some 10,000 banking jobs and 20,000 professional services roles should also be on the move.

Ireland currently accounts for 2% of the EU's wholesale activity, but this share could climb to 15 or 18% once Britain leaves the EU.