The National Treasury Management Agency today kicked off its funding drive for 2020 by selling €4 billion of a new 15-year bond, which matures in May 2035.

The funds were raised at a yield of 0.45%.

The NTMA said there was strong demand for today's transaction and the total order book of over €20 billion included more than 200 individual accounts.

The NTMA's Director of Funding and Debt Management, Frank O'Connor, said that investor interest in the transaction was "very strong and broadly based". 

"The recent S&P upgrade of Ireland, which has widened the pool of investors in Irish issuance, and the continuing improvements in Ireland's fiscal position have contributed to a tightening of our spreads versus core euro zone issuers such as Germany and France," Mr O'Connor said. 

The NTMA director also said it is encouraging that Ireland continues to benefit from the current low interest rate environment. 

"Today's transaction supports the favourable trend of reductions in our annual debt servicing costs, which we expect will fall to €4.5 billion for 2020, down from a peak of €7.5 billion in 2014," he added.

Today's syndicated deal covers around a third of the country's 2018 funding needs.

The NTMA began selling the debt via a syndicated of banks earlier today, the eighth year in a row it has raised a chunk of the cash needed for the coming 12 months in the first week of January.

The debt agency announced last month that it would borrow between €10-14 billion in 2020, down from the €15 billion raised last year that will cover some of its future requirements.

Fellow euro zone issuers Slovenia and Portugal also launched or mandated banks this week to sell new government bonds.