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Bailed-Out Irish Seek Partial Debt Market Return in June or July

Ireland may seek a partial re-entry to international credit markets in June or July, ending an almost two-year hiatus, John Corrigan, head of the country’s debt agency, said.

The Dublin-based agency is looking at the possibility of selling short-term securities in the middle of the year, as the country meets its bailout program targets and the euro-region crisis moves towards resolution, Corrigan said.

“Six months is a long time in capital markets,” he said in an interview with Dublin-based RTE radio, aired today, adding he couldn’t specify how much the agency would seek to sell. “We’re obviously counting in billions rather than millions.”

Ireland stepped out of bond markets and sought a 67.5 billion euro ($88.5 billion) international rescue in 2010, amid concern that the nation’s banking woes would push it into bankruptcy. While the government is fully funded through 2013, Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said the state may try to test markets in the second half of 2012, before a full market return next year.

Ireland’s October 2020 bonds, regarded as the nation’s benchmark, yielded 7.66 percent today, compared with 8.15 percent at the start of November.

In a separate meeting with reporters, Corrigan said the “mood music” surrounding the euro region debt crisis “will have to get a little more positive,” as the nation seeks a return to debt markets. He said a syndicated sale is the most likely method for long-term re-entry to bond markets.

“Markets are very fickle,” he said, adding Ireland has drawn interest from U.S. investors who believe the country’s debt may be the best way to play the euro region. “We shouldn’t be just conditioned by where markets are at the moment.”

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