Govt opts for early repayment of €5.5bn in bailout loans

Ireland will repay €5.5bn of bailout loans early to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Denmark and Sweden.

The amount owed to the IMF is around €4.5bn, while the loans from both Sweden and Denmark amount to €600m and €400m respectively.

The Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe says he spoke to IMF chief Christine LeGarde this morning who approved the deal.

The Government estimates the interest saved from the early repayment is €150m.

Minister Donohoe says it will not affect next year's budget but will save huge money into the future.

He said: "This will not affect where we will be for 2018, but it is crucial part ofhow Ireland in the future can reduce its debt serviccing costs.

"For this year alone, I expect we wil pay between €6.7bn and €6.8bn in servicing and paying our debts.

"Movements in our interest rates in the future have a significant effect on that payment in the future. That's why we are making this decision."

"Ireland greatly appreciates the support and assistance from the IMF and our European partners, which was provided at a time of great uncertainty for our country and which was key to our path to recovery."

He said their "support, friendship and solidarity" will not be forgotten.

His statement continued: "Actions taken in recent years, and the sacrifices made by our citizens, have laid the foundations for a solid and sustained economic recovery in Ireland.

"This has resulted in Ireland becoming the fastest growing economy in the Euro Area and our sovereign funding position now regarded as comfortable and in a healthy funding position at present.

"These early repayments – in particular the early IMF repayment - will mark another very significant milestone for Ireland as we move forward, signalling the strength of our economy and sovereign funding position generally."

National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) Director of Funding and Debt Management, Frank O’Connor said: "Replacing Ireland’s loans from the IMF, Sweden and Denmark further reduces our debt service costs, which have declined considerably in recent years.

"This is not the first time Ireland has made an early repayment of programme loans. The NTMA has previously implemented arrangements to repay over €18bn in IMF facilities to take advantage of reduced market borrowing costs and create savings for the Exchequer.

"The Exchequer is in a healthy funding position. At the end of August we had €20bn in cash and liquid assets."

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