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Ireland braces for return to long-term bond market


Ireland is set to return this week to the long-term bond market for the first time since it benefitted from a rescue programme backed by the European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) had announced late Tuesday that it will seek to issue a new 10-year bond maturing in March 2023 "in due course", but it was not clear when exactly this would take place.

The move would be the first time that Dublin has raised money on the long-term bond markets since the cost of borrowing for Dublin spiralled to unsustainable levels and forced the country to seek an 85-billion-euro ($110-billion) rescue programme in late 2010.

The NTMA has tested the bond markets already in 2013, raising 2.5 billion euros in five-year loans in January, coupled with monthly short-term auctions.

However, issuing a ten-year bond is seen as a key step towards Ireland exiting its bailout programme, and would be a major boost to both Dublin and European Union.

The yield on Irish bonds has fallen below 4.5 percent on secondary markets for sovereign debt in recent weeks, following a number of positive developments which have made Irish debt more attractive to investors.

Last week, EU finance ministers requested the troika of public lenders to Ireland – the EU, the IMF and European Central Bank – to consider extending the repayment schedule for Irish and Portuguese bailout loans.

Ireland’s bailout programme has regularly been praised by the EU and the IMF, with Dublin hoping to be the first eurozone nation to exit a rescue programme by the end of this year.