Belfast Telegraph

Deal over Anglo's billions of debt now under study, says Euro boss

European Central Bank boss Mario Draghi (below) said a deal on the restructuring of billions of debt in Anglo Irish Bank is "under study".

Mr Draghi also said he was confident of a 'yes' vote on the fiscal compact referendum although he conceded that there are "fragilities that need to be taken care of".

He would not be drawn on what level the discussions on the estimated €17bn (£14bn) in interest on over €30bn (£25m) in Anglo promissory notes, or IOUs, that could be renegotiated and said it was not raised at yesterday's ECB meeting where its key interest rate was kept at 1%.

It is also understood that the €3.1bn (£2.6bn) that is due to be paid to Anglo bondholders at the end of the month may be subject to restructuring which could mean a later payment time.

The discussion on the Anglo, now IBRC, debt centres around a reduction in the €17bn (£14m) in interest and agreeing a longer time to pay it back.

Mr Draghi added that of all countries in bailout programmes, the Republic had made the most progress under harsh circumstances.

Earlier yesterday the ECB kept its key interest rate at 1%, as expected.

However, there may be scope for cuts later in the year.

The UK treasury also decided not to reduce rates any further.

Explaining the board's decision, Mr Draghi said inflation is now likely to stay above 2% in 2012, mainly due to increases in energy prices.

He also said the ECB expects the euro area to record Gross Domestic Product growth of between -0.5% and 0.3% in 2012 and between zero and 2.2% in 2013 with the outlook remaining subject to downside risks.

"They notably relate to a renewed intensification of tensions in euro area debt markets and their potential spillover to the euro area real economy," he said.

"Downside risks also relate to further increases in commodity prices."

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