Thursday 22 March 2018

State at risk of another financial shock, warns Central Bank

Warning: Central Bank Governor Philip Lane
Warning: Central Bank Governor Philip Lane
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

Ireland remains especially exposed to another financial shock because of the high levels of public and private debt, the open nature of the economy, and Brexit, Central Bank Governor Philip Lane has said.

And he warned that the recent pan-European stress tests, which ranked both AIB and Bank of Ireland among the most vulnerable in Europe, showed the financial system also remains susceptible.

In a pre-Budget letter to Finance Minister Michael Noonan, the Governor cautioned that the public finances are being boosted by temporary factors, including low interest rates, surplus Central Bank income, and potentially a fraction of the surging corporation tax receipts.

Prof Lane said a "prudent fiscal strategy remains essential".

He said the Government needed to set long-term targets that annual budgetary decisions could be set against, and which recognises the fact that Ireland's population is ageing and pressures will be placed on heathcare and pensions. He also said the State should set its own national target for public debt,

"At both European and domestic levels, the balance of risks is clearly tilted to the downside," Prof Lane wrote.

"Ireland is especially exposed due to the legacy of high public and private sector debt levels, the sensitivity of small, highly open economies to international shocks, and Brexit-related vulnerabilities."

The letter was published as officials from the Central Bank and the Nevin Economic Research Institute appear at an Oireachtas committee meeting today.

Irish Independent

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