Saturday 20 January 2018

NTMA's Corrigan seeks to reassure foreign investors

Simone Meier and  Rishaad Salamat

THE National Treasury Management Agency boss John Corrigan was in London yesterday, attempting to explain what is happening in the Irish banking sector as some foreign investors fret about the possibility that Ireland might go the same way as Greece and Portugal.

"The second part of the issues facing Ireland is the banking problem and it's not a coincidence that we're here in London today to talk to investors," Mr Corrigan said.

"We set a clear path which minimises the impact on public finances. Yesterday the Bank of Ireland announced a very successful placement and rights issue."

Mr Corrigan added that Ireland was unlikely to sell 30-year bonds at present because the Greek crisis would make such a sale a very expensive way of raising money.

The NTMA boss admitted that the movement in Irish bonds was a little disappointing but added that it was part of the general movement caused by the Greek problems.

He said: "I wouldn't be unduly worried about it. Ireland has addressed and continues to address its fiscal problems."

The NTMA boss said Ireland could very easily weather a storm.

"We have a monthly auction programme and that's going well and we can vary the amount in the auctions," he said.

"At this point in time, we have a total borrowing of about €20bn for this year and we have about €12bn of that under our belt.

"In addition, we have very substantial cash balances, which, as a matter of caution, we keep in excess of €20bn.

"If there were more turbulences, we could weather the storm very, very easily."

Irish Independent

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