Ireland will resume regular bond auctions in March for the first time since its 2010 bailout and may try to convince some investors to swap existing bonds, to avoid a spike in repayments in 2016, the country’s debt agency said on Wednesday.
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Ireland, the first Eurozone country to exit an EU/IMF bailout, made a strong return to bond markets with a €3.75bn 10-year issue last month and is fully funded for 2014, but it has yet to begin regular auctions. The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) said it would raise the remaining €4bn in pre-funding it needs for 2015 through a series of auctions of €500m to €1bn.
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Up to two auctions will be held each quarter, with the first on March 13. The debt agency said it will also look into offering investors the opportunity to swap a bond due for repayment in April 2016 with a longer-dated bond, to reduce a spike in debt repayment that year. From March, the NTMA also plans to resume a limited programme of T-bill auctions, which were suspended for the last three months of 2013 due to the state’s strong cash holdings.
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<b> <i> Irish paper has been in demand from foreign investors in recent months and now trades at about a 3.3% yield for benchmark 10-year paper, compared with close to 15% at the peak of the debt crisis in 2011.
<p><h5>Alan McQuaid</h5>


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