Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (108)

Joan Collins


108. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Finance if he will estimate the net cost, taking account of the fact that any surplus at the Central Bank of Ireland is remitted to the Exchequer, to the State of the decision of the Central Bank of Ireland to dispose of the initial target of €500 million of the €25 billion of the so-called promissory note sovereign bonds before the initial target date of 31 December 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22484/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Central Bank of Ireland is independent in the exercise of its functions and the management of its investment holdings is a matter for the bank itself.  Neither I nor the Department of Finance have any role in those matters. Subsequent to the liquidation of IBRC the Central Bank acquired €25bn of Floating Rate Notes (FRNs) and €3.46bn of Government Fixed Coupon 2025 bonds.  The Bank undertook to sell the combined portfolio of the FRNs and the fixed rate bond as soon as possible provided that conditions of financial stability permit.  The Bank also indicated that, as a minimum, it will make sales in accordance with the following schedule: to end 2014 (€0.5 billion), 2015-2018 (€0.5 billion per annum), 2019-2023 (€1 billion per annum), and 2024 on (€2 billion per annum until all bonds are sold).  The Bank's recent Annual Report notes that sales have been made from this combined portfolio, with the Bank selling €350mn of its holdings of the Government 2025 Fixed Rate Bond in 2013.  The timing of the sales is a matter for the Central Bank which may elect to sell bonds at a particular time if it feels that this is the best course of action, for example, in order to take advantage of favourable market conditions. 

The Central Bank provides the Department of Finance with an estimate of expected surplus income to be paid to the Central Fund on a regular basis. This estimate will continue to form part of the Government's overall budgetary strategy. However, the level of detail on the composition of its profits provided by the Central Bank of Ireland to the Department is not sufficiently granular to enable the Department to estimate the impact on those profits of the timing of specific bond disposals undertaken by the CBI.