Opening Bell: Irish startups, Bank of England's Brexit mistake, App Store's big New Year's Day

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The number of new Irish startups reached its highest level in almost two decades last year.

Over 20,000 new companies were registered in 2016, an 8% increase on 2015 and the biggest year of activity since 1998.

Professional services was the most popular industry, with over 4,000 firms established. The finance sector was second, with 44% more new entrants than 2015.

The number of new firms getting down to business in Dublin was up a massive 45.5%, far above second-placed Cork, which saw a 12% increase. The difference elsewhere around the country was much more marginal.

At the same time, there was a 10% decrease in insolvencies. There were 984 startups unable to pay their debts. The sectors of wholesale and retail, as well as manufacturing, were the most badly affected.


Black Friday and Cyber Monday gave Irish retail sales a healthy pre-Christmas boost, with the latest CSO figures showing that the sector has rebounded overall.

Sales were up 0.9% in November over the previous month and, if car sales are excluded, it made for a major monthly rise of 3.1%.

From an annual perspective, sales jumped 4.3%.

The strong performance was spurred by a huge surge in the purchase of electrical goods, which climbed 17% on the month before – likely thanks to those two big sale days.

Electrical retailers also enjoyed a 13.8% improvement on their November 2015 showing.


The Bank of England’s chief economist has admitted it was wrong to predict a dire downturn if the UK voted to leave the EU.

Andrew Haldane called it the Bank's “Michael Fish moment” – comparing it to the time the TV weatherman failed to predict a hurricane in 1987.

The Bank had issued dire warnings against a Brexit vote, with governor Mark Carney even saying the country could slip into recession.

Instead, the FTSE 100 closed on a record high for the sixth consecutive time on Thursday, the same day figures were released suggesting Britain was the fastest-growing of the advanced economies last year.


Apple got off to a great 2017, as New Year's Day proved to be the biggest ever sales day on its App Store.

The tech giant has revealed that iPhone and iPad owners spent $240 million as they recovered from the celebrations the night before.

It came off the back of a strong year for the App Store, with developers earning over $20 billion in sales in 2016, a 40% increase.

The $3 billion in purchases recorded for December alone broke its holiday season record.

While Pokemon Go was the most popular app of 2016, Super Mario Run was most in-demand come January 1st.