Deal on bank debt needed for bond yields to fall - NTMA chief

Monday 30 July 2012 16.14
Recent comments by Mario Draghi helped in Thursday's bond auction
Recent comments by Mario Draghi helped in Thursday's bond auction

The National Treasury Management Agency has said Ireland must secure a deal on bank debt in order for the country's bond yields to fall.

Speaking on RTÉ's This Week, Chief Executive John Corrigan said recent comments by ECB Chairman Mario Draghi helped the NTMA raise around €1 billion of the €5.2bn funding raised in Thursday’s bond auction.

Mr Draghi’s comments were widely interpreted to mean that the bank would consider sovereign bond purchases in the future.

Commenting on the expense of the average 5.95% yield on Irish bonds, Mr Corrigan said that an attractive return was needed to bring in investors but that he hoped this would fall.

"Hopefully as we make progress with the Troika programme we can get momentum behind it and we can get lower yields", he said.

He said further reductions would result from factors within, and outside Ireland's control.

Mr Corrigan said that 5.95% was not a sustainable rate at which to re-enter markets in the long term, but refused to be drawn on what rate would be sustainable.

When asked if an acceptable rate would be anything lower than 5.95%, he replied: "Well, not anything lower, I think we're in the happy position where we can be choosy and circumstances will determine where next we issue".

Mr Corrigan said that further debt-raising exercises would be engaged in into the future.

The raising of short-term debt in the form of treasury bills is likely to start again in September and a further two or three auctions will take place before the end of the year.

Involving pension funds as investors was also planned over the next six to nine months.

On longer term debt issuance, he said that "the pressure is off us, we'll wait and see how markets develop".