NTMA statement on anticipated borrowing requirements

25 March 2020 - Ireland is well placed to increase its borrowing activity in the coming years arising from the economic disruption relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) said today.

This increased borrowing activity will be as a result of measures by the Irish Government aimed at stabilising Ireland’s economy and addressing the economic challenge.

This additional borrowing will take place against a backdrop of a strong improvement in Ireland’s debt position in recent years, which has been reflected in a solid trend of lower borrowing costs, strong demand for Irish sovereign debt among international investors over a protracted period and ratings upgrades by each of the major credit rating agencies.

Conor O’Kelly, NTMA Chief Executive, said:

“The strong progress Ireland has made improving its debt profile over the past five years leaves us well placed to address any borrowing challenges posed by the economic fallout of Covid-19.

We have the benefit of strong international investor appetite for our debt and a supportive interest rate environment that is underpinned by favourable interventions of unprecedented scale by the ECB and other authorities.

Our strategy in recent years of prefunding liabilities means we have already built up strong cash balances. In line with this strategy, at the end of February we had €26 billion to fund this year’s €19 billion of redemptions.

Five years ago the average interest rate on our national debt was close to 4%; it is currently on course to fall below 2%. Five years ago our annual interest bill was over €7.5 billion and is now close to €4 billion.

Between 2017 and 2020 the NTMA has had to fund €70 billion for bond redemptions. Fortunately with no bond redemptions in 2021 and much lower overall redemptions totalling €27 billion from 2021 to 2024, we are well positioned to meet the borrowing requirements and challenges presented by this economic crisis”.

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