Irish May Make Traditional January Dash for Cash

(Bloomberg) -- Last year, Ireland won the New Year’s race to be the first European government back into the bond markets. It may be among the contenders again in 2019.

In 2018, in the year’s first European sovereign deal, the country’s National Treasury Management Agency raised 4 billion euros ($4.6 billion) through the syndicated sale of 10 year debt on Jan. 3. It was the fifth year in a row the debt agency raised cash in January -- it moved on Jan. 4 in 2017.

“We would not be surprised to see a syndicated sale of a new 10 year bond, similar to last January’s syndicated sale, as Ireland currently has no sovereign maturities falling due in 2029,” said Philip O’Sullivan, an economist with Investec Plc in Dublin.

In all, this year, the debt office plans to issue between 14 billion and 18 billion euros of long-term bonds, with at least one syndicated deal projected. Irish credit spreads could widen further as uncertainty around the U.K.’s exit around the European union lingers, the NTMA said in November.

“A riskier approach would be to first launch a 30 year bond,” said Antoine Bouvet, a rates strategist at Mizuho International Plc. “On balance, we think issuing a 10-year is more likely due to Brexit-related uncertainty that has put Irish spreads to core issuers on a widening path, and make a long duration deal more challenging.”

Last year, Ireland named Citigroup Inc, Danske Bank A/S, Davy, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Nomura Holdings Inc as joint lead managers on the deal.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.