The National Treasury Management Agency has raised €4 billion in a syndicated bond sale today.

The proceeds of today's auction will allow the Government to replace some loans taken under its 2010 international bailout with debt raised at a negative interest rate. 

The Department of Finance announced last month it would seek early repayment of €5.5 billion of bailout loans consisting of its outstanding debt to the International Monetary Fund, Denmark and Sweden.

It said it hoped to save around €150m in the process.

Today's sale attracted €10.1 billion of demand and saw a negative yield of 0.008%, far below the 1.05% interest rate Ireland said its residual IMF loan balance carried last year. 

Ireland has already repaid most of the €22.5 billion borrowed from the IMF and has just €4.5 billion left. It owes €600m to Sweden and €400m to Denmark in bilateral loans.

The NTMA has taken advantage of record low funding rates to issue debt at progressively lower costs.  

The agency said that of the €4 billion issued, over 85% was taken up by overseas investors, including the UK (26%), France (17%), US (13%), Germany/Austria/Switzerland (11%) other Europe (11%), and Nordics (7%).

"Today’s transaction allows us to refinance the IMF and bilateral loans whilst maintaining our strong cash balance," commented the NTMA's Director of Funding and Debt Management, Frank O'Connor.

"This has the advantage of maintaining flexibility around our future funding requirements and taking advantage of debt service cost savings made possible by the current low interest rate environment," Mr O'Connor added.

Today's sale will also further alleviate pressure on Ireland's ability to access the European Central Bank's quantitative easing stimulus programme by increasing the pool of eligible debt that can be purchased and benefit from the programme.

Ireland will likely now have room for almost nine more months of ECB purchases at €500m a month, up from just over seven months of headroom in August, Ryan McGrath, head of fixed income strategy at Cantor Fitzgerald, estimated. 

The NTMA had originally planned to issue €9-13 billion in long-term debt this year but has raised €14.5 billion via benchmark sales and a further €610m in its first ever sale of inflation-linked bonds.