Moody's hails 'very significant' debt deal
MOODY'S said this week's agreement to consider extending the maturities on some Irish bailout loans is "very significant."
Together with last month's accord to stretch out the bailout of the former Anglo Irish, the latest agreement "makes a big difference," said Moody's analyst Kristin Lindow. "We consider this to be another credit positive event for Ireland."
European Union finance ministers agreed on Tuesday to recommend the "best possible option" for helping Ireland and Portugal regain full market access as they near the end of their bailout programmes. Moody's rates Ireland at Ba1 with a negative outlook.
Moody's is the only one of the three large ratings companies to rate Irish bonds as junk.
"If we don't think we are likely to downgrade within the next 12-18 months, then at that point we would move back to stable. I can't say when that point would be," Lindow said.
"We are looking at this and at some point we will determine if the balance of risks has shifted, but right now the negative outlook is still in place."
For Ireland, five options are under consideration, sources say. The alternatives include doing nothing, re-profiling the loans so that more of them come due later, or giving extensions of 2 1/2, five or more than five years, the officials said.
Davy Stockbrokers reckons the EU may consider rescheduling at least €10.5bn of Irish rescue loans due to mature in 2015 and 2016.