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Where are the Irish investors?

BUT where are the Irish investors? The past week witnessed a remarkable wave of demand for Irish-issued bonds on the international markets, but little or no interest from the home front.

On Monday, the ESB was offered a staggering €6bn from investors falling over themselves to buy its bonds, but the interest is understood to have come largely from European institutional investors.

The 12-times oversubscribed €500m ESB deal could hardly stand in sharper contrast to the €150m amortising bond that the same borrower had to cancel in October for lack of Irish interest.

Germans, Austrians and British investors filled their boots with Bank of Ireland's first non-government guaranteed bond for three years. Just 2pc of the new debt stayed in the home market.

The NTMA is the poster child for rebuilding the trust of the bond markets. It is successfully wooing back US investors such as Michael Hasenstab and Franklin Temple, who control as much as 10pc of our government debt.

An increasing deep pool of European money managers has also 'bought' the Irish story.

At last count, just €450m of the €88bn of Irish government bonds was held by pension and insurance firms here, leaving the international buyers to reap the biggest rewards as the Irish tide turned in the markets.

So what's going on? Are we doomed to be Paddy last when it comes to riding the recovery, or have the world's money managers lost their head? Time will tell.

Irish Independent