Tell Us About Sinn Fein: Investors Quiz Irish Analysts

(Bloomberg) --

The phones are ringing at the desks of Irish market analysts, and the most common question from investors? Tell us about Sinn Fein.

A poll published late Monday placed the former political wing of the Irish Republican Army in first place before the Feb. 8 election, ahead of the two parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, which have dominated Irish government almost since the foundation of the state.

“We had numerous client queries on the desk as to the potential implications of a Sinn Fein-led government,” Ryan McGrath, an analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald in Dublin, said in a research note Wednesday.

McGrath isn’t alone, with Dermot O’Leary, chief economist at Goodbody Stockbrokers, also seeing an increase in client queries on Irish politics. Sinn Fein wants to raise taxes on the rich and spend more money on the nation’s health service and housing shortage. For now, though, investors can relax.

The party is only running 42 candidates in the 158-seat parliament, meaning a majority is beyond them, and both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail vow not to bring them into a coalition. Even then, the party may not be as radical as sometimes portrayed.

“In the Sinn Fein manifesto, spending plans, while greater than those of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, are still conservative” in the context of European Union rules on government finances, McGrath wrote.

“Also note, Sinn Fein is not anti-establishment and was in line with the current government’s Brexit stance.”

Investors seem reassured. Irish bonds are little changed since the Sinn Fein surge, with the yield in 10-year debt trading at minus 0.07%.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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