IRELAND’S NATIONAL DEBT might be becoming more expensive as a direct result of the decision by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s – but at least we can console ourselves in fact that the Financial Times has been amused by the whole thing.
Reporting that Ireland had “come out swinging” after the S&P move to downgrade Ireland’s sovereign rating from AA to AA-, Hume quotes a rep from the National Treasury Management Agency in a piece from Reuters.
The emphasis is that of the FT:
In a strongly worded statement, the National Treasury Management Agency said it disagreed with S&P’s view that Ireland faced substantially higher costs to bail out its ailing banking sector.
“In terms of the specific analysis by S&P, this is largely predicated upon an extreme estimate of bank recapitalization costs of up to 50 billion euros,” the NTMA said.
“We believe this approach is flawed.”
It also points out that the ‘spread’ – the percentage difference in interest offered – in German and Irish government bonds has now reached a record 3.29%, while in August 2007 Irish borrowing was cheaper than that of Germany.
“Either way,” Hume concludes, “its [sic] provided some entertainment on a quiet summer trading day.”
The New York Times’ much-respected economics blogger, Paul Krugman, has offered solace for worried Irish investors by suggesting that ratings agencies are not the be-all and end-all, however.
Writing on his blog, Krugman offers a brief reminder that Moody’s and S&P – the two agencies that have downgraded Ireland’s ratings in the past weeks – gave Japanese debt a similar treatment in 2002.
Although the moves ranked Japanese debt as a riskier investment than that of Bostwana and Estonia, Japan can still borrow with less than 1% interest a full eight years later.
RATING’S AGENCY Moody’s has cut Portugal’s rating by two spots to A1, Reuters reports. Moody’s says their outlook is stable, meaning no further rating change is expected for at least a year, but Portugal may need to introduce more austerity measures in 2011 to keep it that way. The euro fell to a one-week low against the dollar following the news.
A FORMER TOP policeman in Australia has said that concerns that the opening of a Dublin drug injecting centre could lead to an increase in crime and anti-social behaviour may be unfounded.
Advocates say that safe injection facilities (SIFs) reduce the harm associated with injecting drug use. They are supervised spaces where people can inject drugs in a clean and hygienic setting off the street.
It is understood that plans for a pilot supervised injecting room in the capital are at an advanced stage, and that the issue will be dealt with in this Dáil term.
After the introduction of such a centre in Sydney, it made a huge difference to crime rates in the area.
Pat Paroz, the former Commander of Drug and Alcohol Coordination for the New South Wales Police, told TheJournal.ie: “Most of the trends in property theft and violent crime went down from when the injecting centre was introduced.”
So, what do you think? Should Dublin open a drug injecting centre?
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