The National Treasury Management Agency has announced a revised bond funding range of €20 billion to €24 billion for the full year, to meet the borrowing requirements of Government measures during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It replaces the original bond funding range, announced in December, of €10 billion to €14 billion.

The revision follows an increase of €14 billion in the Government's Exchequer Borrowing Requirement announced in the Stability Programme Update today.

The increase in the bond funding range is lower than the increase in the Exchequer Borrowing Requirement due to Ireland’s strong cash position.

The NTMA has already issued over €11 billion of bonds in 2020. This has been achieved through the launch of two new bonds maturing in 2027 and 2035 and an auction of bonds maturing in 2029.

There are further bond auctions scheduled for May and June. 

The NTMA also intends to increase Treasury Bill and Commercial Paper issuance. Overall short-term issuance is expected to increase by a further €5 billion to reach €15 billion by year end.

Frank O’Connor, Director of Funding and Debt Management at the NTMA, said Ireland is well placed to undertake the additional borrowing announced today. 

"We continue to see strong, broad-based demand from investors for Irish sovereign debt, as demonstrated earlier this month with the NTMA’s €6 billion syndication of a new 7-year bond.

"We plan to use a combination of both long-term and short-term funding instruments which, alongside active management of our cash balances, will give us flexibility to match our borrowing requirements with investor demand," Mr O'Connor said.

Ireland benefits from strong credit ratings and the average maturity of its debt is one of the longest in Europe.

The NTMA has, over recent years, smoothed out the maturity profile of the debt in order to build resilience in the portfolio to address adverse events. Ireland has no bond refinancing requirement in 2021.

"These factors, together with the low interest rate environment underpinned by the ECB’s recent actions, are supportive of our planned borrowing activity," he said.