Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Questions (140)

Patrick Nulty


140. Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Finance if the European Central Bank has made a profit from the sale of any Irish bonds; if so, the steps he is taking to ensure this money is given back to the Irish State; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10935/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

A recent ECB statement published details in relation to their securities holdings acquired under the Securities Markets Programme (SMP). This reports nominal SMP Irish bond holdings of €14.2bn at 31 December 2012, valued by the ECB on an amortised cost basis at €13.6bn. However, a detailed breakdown of the particular bonds, and thus their coupons or maturity dates or the dates of acquisition has not been published by the ECB. It is therefore not possible to outline the interest which will accrue to the ECB in relation to these holdings. It is also not possible to outline the profits, if any, made by the ECB from the sale of any Irish Bonds in the past. The ECB cannot legally return profits on the Eurosystem’s holdings of a country’s securities acquired under the SMP to the government of the country concerned. Rather these profits are recycled to all national central banks via their capital contribution keys – these are normally then transferred to governments as part of the NCBs’ surplus income.