* Ireland first euro zone country to mandate banks in 2018
* Dublin planning 14-18 billion euro bond sales this year (Adds details)
DUBLIN, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Ireland’s debt agency hired a syndicate of banks and brokers on Tuesday to sell a new 10-year bond that a market source said was likely to raise between 3 and 4 billion euros, around a quarter of the country’s 2018 funding needs.
Ireland has kicked off its funding drive with a syndicated sale every year since 2013 and was the first euro zone sovereign out of the traps this year, saying it would issue the new bond “in the near future” — language it has previously used when selling debt the next day.
The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) said in a statement that it had appointed Citi, Danske Bank, Davy Stockbrokers, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Nomura as joint lead managers for the deal.
The debt agency said last month it would issue between 14 and 18 billion euros of long-term debt in 2018, including at least one syndicated deal.
Ireland raised over 17 billion euros on debt markets last year, facilitating the early repayment of some of its loans from a 2010 international bailout while also increasing its scarce pool of debt eligible for the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing stimulus programme.
Borrowing costs across the euro area shot higher on Tuesday as a cut in monthly ECB asset purchases became a reality, with hawkish comments from a top official and strong data hurting sentiment towards bonds on the first trading day of the year.
Irish eight-year bonds — the closest current issue to a 10-year benchmark bond — were yielding 0.71 percent on secondary markets near close of trading on Tuesday, giving an indication of how much Ireland may have to pay to borrow. The yield had risen by as much as 3 basis points to 0.72 percent as prices eased slightly after the NTMA’s announcement. (Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Catherine Evans)