Belfast Telegraph

Bonds sale 'recovery milestone'

The successful sale of 500 million euro in bonds for the first time in almost two years is a milestone in Ireland's path to recovery, it has been claimed.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said Ireland secured a better interest rate than expected on the auction of the short-term Government debt.

Demand was high as the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) made a return to the international debt markets, with bids almost three times the amount of bills issued.

Mr Noonan said the auction of the bonds, which will mature after three months, was competitive and a good result.

"This morning's successful auction of three months Treasury bills by the NTMA was a very important milestone on Ireland's continuing path to recovery," he said.

The agency sold off its target amount of Treasury bills, securing a 1.8% yield - interest rate on the debt - a better deal than its estimated 2%.

"This was first time that the NTMA has raised money in the markets since September 2010 and highlights the significant progress that the Government has made in restoring Ireland's reputation," said Mr Noonan.

The minister maintained the auction was an important first step in Ireland's overall plan to make a full return to the capital markets next year and to work towards reducing its deficit.

"The markets have reacted positively to our strong programme implementation to date, to the decisive yes vote in the recent referendum on the stability treaty and the decision taken at last week's summit to break the negative links between the sovereign and the banks," he added.

The auction closed at 10.30 Thursday morning with total bids received amounting to 1.415 billion euro - 2.8 times the amount on offer. The result, which will be seen as increased market sentiment towards the country, will be used to gauge Ireland's readiness to re-enter the sovereign debt market for trading.

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