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Ireland's bond yields are almost as good as Belgium's, so we're moving the right way - NTMA

NTMA CEO John Corrigan also says that over 70 per cent of Ireland’s funding for 2014 has already been raised.

John Corrigan arriving at the PAC in February.
John Corrigan arriving at the PAC in February.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

IRELAND’S STANDING ON the international bond markets is almost as good as Belgium’s, meaning we should expect more and more investment.

That’s the opinion of the chief executive of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) who was speaking in Dublin this evening.

John Corrigan told delegates from the Certified Public Accountants that Ireland’s debt to GDP ratio has dropped below 100 per cent, an important milestone considered key by many investors.

“This is not a million miles away from Belgium at around 84 per cent of GDP,” he said.

Belgian 10-year bonds are currently trading at a spread of around 60 basis points over Germany so an optimist could make an argument for Ireland to trade not far above that in current market conditions, given that our economic growth prospects would be generally regarded as being much stronger than those of Belgium.

Corrigan outlined what he saw as Ireland’s successful re-entry to the international debt markets and how investor perceptions of Ireland have improved as a result:

“Back in July 2011, when we weren’t borrowing, Irish 10-year yields spiked up to 14 per cent in the secondary market. In stark contrast, last Thursday’s auction we sold 10-year bonds at a yield of 2.9 per cent.”

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At the end of last year the NTMA had been debating how much money it should raise on the bond markets in 2014, stating that the figure would be between €6-10 billion. The agency eventually settled on a funding target of €8 billion and Corrigan says over 70 per cent of this has been raised already.

“Last January we decided to limit the size of the new bond in order to leave capacity for bond auctions. We got off to a flying start last January when we raised €3.75 billion and followed that with two very successful auctions of €1 billion each in March and April.”

Read: Bond sale marks ‘normalisation’ of Ireland >

Read: NTMA reaffirms aim to raise as much as €10bn from markets this year >

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Rónán Duffy

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