Opening Bell: Crunch Brexit week begins, China's trade troubles, the importance of happy workplaces

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

Britain needs unanimous approval from the 27 other members of the EU for its reform proposals at this week’s two-day summit on February 18th and 19th to hold its in/out membership referendum during the summer, with June 23rd reported to be earmarked as a possible polling day.

A new survey of 700 British and German companies operating in the UK has found that one-third would consider leaving the UK if it leaves the EU according to the Bertelsmann Foundation.

Sterling values have fallen by 8% since mid November this fall is in part due to uncertainty over the UK's future in the EU.


New trade figures from China show a larger than expected drop in trade during January.

Exports fell by 11.2% - the greatest fall since March of last year - while imports fell by a massive 18.8% - that was the 15th straight month of declines.

Analysts polled by Reuters believed that these falls would be closer to 2% and 1%.


A new survey shows that having a happy and caring work environment stops people leaving their jobs.

Behaviour and Attitudes surveyed a thousand workers in both the public and private sectors - 69% would stay if they had a caring boss - while 50% of them would leave if they didn't.

Dr Muireann Cullen says that's not a surprise:


HSBC has decided to keep its headquarters in the UK, following speculation the bank was considering a move to Hong Kong.

The company, which employs about 5,000 people at its London base, launched a review in April on where it should be based in response to sweeping reforms in the banking sector.

It said the decision to remain was unanimous, adding in a statement: "London is one of the world's leading international financial centres and home to a large pool of highly skilled, international talent."

HSBC had been concerned about tax changes, implemented since the financial crisis, which are costing banks hundreds of millions of pounds a year.