Monday 16 October 2017

Bailout exit talks put off until final troika visit

Minister Michael Noonan
Minister Michael Noonan
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

THE Government is waiting until the last moment to seal a deal on exiting the bailout this year.

Talks on strategies for exiting haven't taken place between the Government and troika during the current review mission.

The visit, the penultimate under the bailout programme, draws to a close tomorrow but while initial discussions on options have previously taken place, detailed discussions on leaving the aid programme will not happen until the final mission in the autumn.

The current 10-day review mission involving representatives from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the EU and European Central Bank (ECB) is the latest routine visit to gauge whether the Government is meeting its targets as laid down under the bailout programme.

"That (leaving the bailout) is something that is more for the autumn," one official said. "It hasn't been discussed at this point."

Ahead of the latest review mission last week, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said that he wanted to engage seriously with the troika about exit strategies and accessing cheap funding "so to ensure that when we go back into the markets in a continuous way in the autumn that we're back to stay and that we get money at low interest rates," Mr Noonan said. "I'll be asking what ideas they have and where they might assist us in that."

However, another official said it was too early to discuss, in detail, strategies for exiting the bailout at this point.

"There's not much point in getting into exit strategies now when the world could be a very different place in October and November."

Global ratings agency Moody's has said the Government is expected to tap into a precautionary credit line when the country leaves the bailout at the end of the year.

The aim would be to reassure investors that a safety net is in place once official funding dries up and the country needs to revert to the international money markets on a full-time basis. An alternative option would be to go it alone.

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