Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency has held a successful five-year bond auction, attracting €7bn of orders and allowing the debt office to raise €2.5bn- a yield of about 3.35 percent. The auction was the latest in a series of steps towards rebuilding the country’s finances and regaining the trust of the markets.
The auction was the first mainstream offering since the country was bailed out in 2010, though money was raised last summer through a bond exchange. Though analysts agree that the offerings are good signs, the next real test will come in March when €3.5bn worth of bonds will reach maturity, the equivalent of this year’s targeted debt reduction. Ireland hopes to navigate through this by renegotiating some of its more expensive debt used to recapitalise its failing lenders and by triggering the European Stability Mechanism over its equity stakes, severing the toxic link with the government. These measures will alternately require approval by the European Central bank and an agreement with other eurozone members.
In a press conference Eamon Gilmore, deputy Prime Minister told reporters that Ireland is suffering the consequences of rescuing its banks, and by proxy other European banks that would have been left exposed in the event of a collapse. “We put our fingers in the dyke, and we’ve been left with our fingers in the dyke,” he said.