Saturday 20 January 2018

Noonan to meet IMF chief over bailout exit strategy

Michael Brennan

Michael Brennan

FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan is meeting the head of the IMF in Washington amid major uncertainty over whether the country will apply for a €10bn 'safety net' loan to exit the bailout.

The Government is understood to be leaning in the direction of managing without such a facility, with Mr Noonan saying recently that he already had the cushion of a €25bn cash pile borrowed for next year.

But his department has said that the issue was still "finely balanced". It is concerned that signing up for a €10bn loan facility would lead to restrictive conditions similar to the current €85bn bailout programme which ends on December 15. But it would also like the reassurance of having the ability to get a large loan at a reasonable rate of interest in case an unforeseen crisis made borrowing on the international markets too expensive for the country to afford.

BALANCED

Mr Noonan is due to meet today in Washington with IMF managing director Christine Lagarde.

A spokesman for Mr Noonan said that no decision had yet been made on seeking a safety net loan – and that it would be up to cabinet to make the final decision. "It's finely balanced. That's why we're having these meetings to discuss the options," he said.

Irish Independent

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