Opening Bell: iPhone sales to fall for the first time, Banking Inquiry report to be published today, Google faces more tax payouts

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Apple has warned iPhone sales are expected to fall for the first time since the smartphone's launch in 2007.

The tech firm made the gloomy prediction after reporting the slowest ever sales growth for the iPhone for the final three months of last year.

Sales during the quarter to December 26th of last year grew modestly by 0.4%.

It sold 74.8 million units during the three months - this was only slightly higher than the 74.5 million sold during the same time in the previous year.

This did not stop the California-based company registering a net profit of $18.36bn and revenue of $75.87bn - both of which were record-highs.

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The Banking Inquiry's final report will be published later today, with criticism of the European Central Bank for saddling the Irish people with huge levels of debt on two occasions.

The financial regulator will also come under criticism for not using the powers available to keep a check on our banks. 

It took years to set it up the Inquiry, thousands of hours of work and hearings that resulted in a reduced report and extended deadlines. 14,000 documents were examined as part of the examination.

The report will say that while the IMF supported the burning of bondholders and the Attorney General had even examined doing so, the European Central Bank (ECB) blocked the move saying there would be no bailout in November 2010. The ECB stopped it again in March 2011 after the new government examined the option. 

The report will find that the ECB position inappropriately placed significant levels of banking debt on the Irish people.

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Google is facing another payout on sales passed through its Irish office.

Last week it was revealed that it would pay £130m (€171m) in back tax in the UK - it is now reported to be close to settling a similar issue in France with a payment of £380m (€500m) for French sales registered in Dublin.

Italian media sources also report that Google plans to pay €150m in back taxes, sales in the region are one-tenth of those in the UK.

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The World Bank has slashed its oil price forecast for 2016, predicting that average prices will settle at $37 per barrel, down from a price of $52 predicted three months ago.

The institution has also voiced concerns that these falling prices will result in problems for a number of emerging economies.

The global oil supply glut shows little sign of abating - the Iraqi oil ministry announced that it had pumped record volumes of crude oil last month.

Saudi Arabia is also producing record levels of the energy source, and Iran has upped its production after international trade sanctions ended.

Russia is also pumping oil at levels not seen since the fall of the Soviet Union.

 

Additional reporting by IRN and Paraic Gallagher