Thursday 22 March 2018

Our prospects for next year? Sadly that all depends on EU

IT was, all told, a year of disappointments. Growth fell below expectations, budget targets were missed, the pressures on spending – especially health – increased and there were no real signs that Europe was ready for a deal on bank debt. The resulting political pressures were all too apparent at Budget time.

Only two areas looked better than might have been expected last January. Bond yields – the rate of interest on Irish government borrowing – fell dramatically. This allowed the Government, through the NTMA (National Treasury Management Agency), to borrow on the market earlier than anticipated.

The two "pillar" banks, AIB and Bank of Ireland, were also able to borrow significant, if not exactly dramatic, sums and without relying on the government guarantee.

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