Jan. 7 - Ireland has made a storming return to the international bond markets, as it enjoyed strong demand for its first debt sale since exiting its EU/IMF bailout program in December 2013. The sale also helped drive down yields across the euro zone's periphery. Joanna Partridge reports
A most impressive return to the international bond market. Ireland enjoyed bumper demand for its first debt sale since it exited its bailout programme in December. Investors bid more than 14 billion euros for the new 10-year bond, sold via syndication. That was around three times the sale's likely size of between 3 and 4 billion euros. This was Dublin's first bond issue since March, when it sold 5 billion euros of 10-year paper. It was be closely watched by Greece, Portugal and Cyprus, which are still in bailout programmes, says Alastair McCaig from IG. SOUNDBITE: Alastair McCaig, Market Analyst, IG, saying (English): "They've really been the sort of bellwether that many European, southern European countries can look towards to see that with hard work and quite a bit of pain quite frankly, you can come out of this. Yes I think there'll be demand for it, I think there's always appetite for it. We've probably seen the worst as far as the markets are concerned of Ireland, I think the Irish population have still got plenty of hard months ahead of them, years maybe even." Ireland is already funded into 2015. But the successful sale showed it's appealing to international investors. Ireland's recovery seems to be gaining momentum. Unemployment has fallen to 12.5% from a high of 15%, property prices have begun to rise again and the government thinks GDP will grow by 2% this year. But investors are still concerned about its national debt, which stands at 124% of GDP and is among the highest in the EU.