Opening Bell: Oil price-freeze collapses, Osborne's Brexit warning, Ireland's SME insurance "crisis"

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An agreement to freeze oil prices between OPEC and non-OPEC producers collapsed yesterday after Saudi Arabia insisted on Iran joining the deal.

This could add to the global oil supply glut - Saudi Arabia has threatened to increase its output if a deal is not reached.

18 oil producers, including Russia, gathered yesterday as the deal was due to be signed-off.

If it was successful it would have frozen oil prices at January levels until October.

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Every household in Britain would be £4,300 a year worse off by 2030 if the UK pulls out of the European Union according to Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne.

Writing in The Times (London), George Osborne made the financial prediction as the British government continued to argue the case for staying in the 28-nation bloc.

He said the question facing British voters on 23 June is "one of the most fundamental our country has been asked to settle in a generation" and will have "profound consequences" for the UK economy.

He continued: "The analysis shows that our membership of the EU, and the quota-free, no-tariff access it gives us to a single market of half a billion consumers, has increased our trade with our European neighbours by three-quarters.

"And increased our trade with the rest of the world too, because of the 50 or so EU free trade deals we are part of."

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The Small Firms Association (SFA) has warned that Irish small businesses are facing an insurance cost crisis.

It says that insurance costs have increased by 29.6% since 2011.

"Without quick actions from government, this trend will continue, with devastating consequences for small businesses around Ireland," AJ Noonan, SFA chairman said.

He added that "it will become impossible to do business in Ireland both from a domestic and from a foreign direct investment perspective." 

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The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) steering group has called on countries to increase "growth-friendly" spending.

It added that new creation of new lending tools should be considered as global economic activity lags.

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde has said that calmer markets since February have reduced the stress on the IMF and the World Bank.

“There was not exactly the same level of anxiety but I think there was an equal level of concern, and a collective endeavour to identify the solution and the responses to the global economic situation,” Ms Lagarde told reporters.