By Emelia Sithole-Matarise
LONDON, March 7 Ireland will be the main market
focus in the primary euro zone debt market in the coming week
with launch of its first bond auction since its 2010
The first euro zone country to exit a European
Union/International Monetary Fund bailout, Ireland said last
month it was aiming to sell 500 million to 1 billion euros in
bonds at the auctions.
The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) is expected
to announce on Monday the maturity of paper it will offer at
Some analysts expect it to sell its March 2024 bond
to boost liquidity in the paper which was
issued via a syndication of banks in January to bumper demand.
"We expect a smooth auction. It will be the icing on the
cake for Ireland in terms of getting back to a more normal
primary bond market set-up," said David Schnautz, a strategist
"The market will take it as a buying opportunity and so I
don't expect much (price) concession."
Irish bonds, like debt issued by other lower-rated euro zone
states, has been in demand from foreign investors in recent
months and now 10-year paper yields just over 3 percent
, compared with 15 percent at the peak of the debt
crisis in 2011.
Portugal, the third country to take a bailout after Greece
and Ireland, is also looking at resuming bond auctions this
year, possibly before its EU/IMF aid programme ends in May.
RBS strategists, however, said given that auctions were not
necessary for Lisbon for Lisbon to exit the bailout and that it
has already met its 2014 funding requirements and was now
looking to pre-fund for 2015, such sales were not imminent.
"In fact a limited stock of tradeable bonds in a strongly
trending market is only likely to exacerbate the positive price
action and store up demand for the next large issuance," they
said in a note.
Next week, Germany will sell up to 4 billion euros of
two-year bonds on Wednesday while Italy will sell medium- to
long-term bonds on Thursday. The Italian Treasury will announce
on Monday the amount and maturities it aims to sell.