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Irish bonds hit in Portugal blow

IRISH bonds were hit on the international markets again as uncertainty continued about domestic bank funding.

Investors are nervous in the wake of the resignation of Portugal's prime minister Jose Socrates (right), whose departure has raised fears that the European Union is heading for its third bailout in less than two years.

Bond yields stuck at 10pc or above and two-year Portuguese yields reached the highest level recorded since 1999, amid concern the country may not be able to repay about €9bn in debt due in June.

Separate figures released by the Central Bank yesterday showed that Irish-owned banks had a €246m exposure to Portuguese sovereign debt at the end of last year.

Irish yields climbed yesterday when LCH Clearnet Ltd, Europe's largest clearing house, said it will raise the extra deposit charged to trade Irish securities.