Thursday, February 17, 2011

Irish debt default and 'burning' bondholders

The European Central Bank opposes cutting the debt of senior bank bondholders because of the fear of contagion across the Eurozone; many Irish people say taxpayers shouldn't carry the burden of bank debt.

The European Union's Economic and Monetary Affairs commissioner, Olli Rehn, said on Tuesday that EU finance ministers have 'simply no appetite' for Irish bank senior bondholder 'haircuts' - - forced cuts in the amount of the debt owing.

The commissioner said the restructuring of Ireland's banking sector should be done in line with undertakings already agreed with the EU and the IMF.

"We only expect that this will be done according to the memorandum of understanding which sets the frame for restructuring and reform of the Irish banking sector so that it can become again healthy and resilient," Rehn told reporters after a meeting of the Ecofin council of European Union finance ministers in Brussels.

He added: "There is simply no appetite for considering senior bondholders in this context because we want to avoid any kind of potential contagion effect and therefore this issue is not at the table and that was made very clear yesterday in the meeting of the Eurogroup."

The Fine Gael party's election manifesto, which was published on Tuesday, says imposing losses on senior bondholders in Irish banks would only be extended as part of a European-wide framework and would focus on Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society, which are being wound up.

Would we be burning ourselves:

UCC economist says more than half Irish bank bonds owned by investors in Republic of Ireland

Irish Economy Blog Threads:

Burning Bonholders

Gormley On the Guarantee: The McWilliams Option