Opening Bell: Housing supply hits a nine-year low, EU plans corp tax reforms, construction inflation cools

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The number of properties for sale in Ireland has hit a nine-year low, according to property website DAFT.ie.

With some 24,000 units available, supply is at its lowest point since February 2007.

The biggest falls in availability are now outside Leinster. Across Munster, Connacht and Ulster there were 13,500 homes for sale in April 2016 - compared to 21,000 just two years previously.

Prices are reportedly rising because the increase in population each month is not being matched by an increase in new homes.

Author of the report, Ronan Lyons, says there is a two-tier market emerging, with trends differing between Dublin and the rest of the country:

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The European Commssion is set to unveil its proposals to reform corporate tax reporting across the EU tomorrow.

The release of the 'Panama Papers' has refocused international attention on tax avoidance, the main talking point is likely to be Europe's plan to introduce country-by-country reporting.

The Irish Times reports that it has seen a draft document which would require companies to file a breakdown of their revenue, pre-tax profit or loss, tax due and tax paid in each country which it operates in.

This information would then be made available to the public.

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Inflation in the construction sector has fallen to its lowest level in nearly two years according to the Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index.

The seasonally adjusted index read 62.3, well above the 50 threshold which indicates growth, but down on the 68.8 recorded in March.

The sector has now been growing for 31 successive months.

Ulster Bank Republic of Ireland economist Simon Barry commented on the index: "Some pull-back from last month’s all-time survey high is not particularly surprising ... At 62.3, the headline PMI index continues to point to very strong expansion."

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David Cameron is to announce new laws to crack down on tax cheats in response to criticism from Opposition MPs after publishing details of his own tax arrangements.

In a Commons statement as MPs return to Westminster after a 17-day Easter break, the British Prime Minister will announce plans for a new law making it a criminal offence for companies to fail to stop staff aiding tax evasion.

The move was first announced in the March 2015 Budget, when George Osborne said the Government would introduce the measure.

Speaking ahead of his statement, Mr Cameron said: "This Government has done more than any other to take action against corruption in all its forms but we will go further.

"That is why we will legislate this year to hold companies who fail to stop their employees facilitating tax evasion criminally liable."