Sunday 25 March 2018

NTMA boss upbeat about Moody’s rating upgrade

Head of NTMA John Corrigan
Head of NTMA John Corrigan

Ailish O’Hora and Colm Kelpie

JOHN Corrigan, the head of the country's debt management agency, said today he us upbeat about an upgrade for Ireland from rating agency Moody’s.

Moody’s is the only one left of the big three agencies that rates Ireland at junk status or sub-investment grade although it has been more positive about its outlook for the Irish economy more recently.

“There are signs of a softening of Moody’s outlook on the eurozone and it (Moody’s) always made it clear that their view on Ireland was influenced by their view on the eurozone,” the National Treasury Management Agency's Mr Corrigan told RTE’s This Week programme.

“It has always been very clear to us that is nothing personal about Ireland.”

However, an upgrade is unlikely this side of Christmas, sources added today.

Mr Corrigan added that a move to investment grade would drive down the cost of Irish borrowing in the bond markets.

“If we were to move to investment grade I would anticipate a shift down in yields which would involve us getting a better price for our debt,” Mr Corrigan told RTE Radio’s This Week programme.

Moody's raised the outlook on Irish sovereign rating from negative to stable in September but stopped short of an upgrade.

The Government had hoped that Moody’s would upgrade Ireland in the wake of both the promissory note deal in February and the extension of the maturities on some of the European bailout loans.

Mr Corrigan also said that the markets were relaxed about whether the Government would take out a precautionary credit line – it announced last week that it will leave the bailout programme without a so-called overdraft on December 15.

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