Opening Bell: Ireland's record tax take, Starbucks to supplant McDonald's, US Fed's "Trumpflation" concerns

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

The Exchequer enjoyed a record tax take in 2016, with the Government collecting almost €48 billion for the year.

That was a 5% increase on 2015, and a 1.4% improvement on the projected €47.9 billion.

KBC economist Austin Hughes has told the Irish Times that the restored finances will add to "pressures to ramp up public spending".

The State still ran a deficit of just over €1 billion, though the Department of Finance has attributed this in part to reduced bailout repayments coming from banks.

The figures arrived as the Government raised €4 billion through the sale of a new benchmark 20-year treasury bond – almost half of the minimum amount it is aiming to raise in 2017.


The US Federal Reserve is bracing itself for "Trumpflation", according to the newly-released minutes of its December meeting.

Despite not specifically naming the US President-elect, officials noted "considerable uncertainty" regarding the fiscal policy that lies ahead.

The Fed indicated that ramped-up infrastructure spending or tax cuts could boost economic growth in the coming years.

Some officials believe that this growth – along with further increases in oil prices – could lead to higher inflation, though others feel that a stronger dollar would keep it at bay.

Inflationary pressures would force the committee to raise the federal funds rate "more quickly than currently anticipated".


Starbucks is set to overtake McDonald's as the world's most valuable restaurant chain.

A leading restaurant industry expert has predicted that Seattle coffee giant will increase its number of chains by 8.4% this year, with sales climbing 5%.

Ultimately, Starbucks could boast 50,000 locations worldwide, more than any other global chain.

Room for growth in the beverage industry and the relative lack of competition were cited as the main reasons why it has an edge over McDonald's and food-focused rivals.


BMW is gearing up for its self-driving cars to hit roads in Europe and the US in the second half of 2017.

It’s the next step in the German car manufacturer’s plan to introduce fully autonomous vehicles by 2021.

In partnership with Mobileye and Intel, it will train 40 of its 7 Series sedans to drive in urban areas.

The aim is to apply the collected data towards the production of the autonomous iNext, which will replace the 7 Series as BMW's flagship model.

Google and Tesla have been leading the race in autonomous car testing on public roads.

BMW has appealed to other car makers to team up with tech companies to share research costs and speed up development so that they don't get left behind.