Spiegel Online Calculations of Irish Debt

A few weeks ago I posted a link to a presentation put together by Spiegel Online showing the maturity profile of the debt of Ireland and other European sovereigns with high deficits. The exact nature of the calculations for Ireland were questioned at the time in the comments. Last week, I received an email from someone who clarified two points for me in relation to the Irish information in this presentation.

First, the €8.6 billion shown as Irish bonds due this year are almost all Treasury bills even though the chart is labelled “When Irish bonds are due”.  Second, the Spiegel people  selected “Republic of Ireland” as opposed to “Ireland Government Bond” when performing their Bloomberg search. This means that their numbers for future years include, for example, the Dublin Airport Authority and the Housing Finance Agency.

10 replies on “Spiegel Online Calculations of Irish Debt”

Official sources have data that is more easily understandable, more easily comparable e.g. EC, IMF, rating agencies… (along with commercial databases such as Bloomberg, Reuters etc). Any data set gives rise to comparability issues, and increasingly so. Governments have many ways to borrow money, and are diversifying. They also have more assets on their balance sheets as well, ranging from large cash holdings to protect themselves for a bit longer, to assets of very uncertain value e.g. bank holdings.
Ireland’s balance sheet is one of the trickiest to compare, given the large variety of both liabilities and assets.
I don’t think you need to do much digging to find out what is going on. But just be mindful that there are many shades of debt, from bonds, bills, commercial paper, promissory notes et al and a grand variety of contingent liabilities, whether for the taxpayer directly or for the banks.
I don’t quite understand this fascination on this blog with press sources and press articles. It is true that a good deal of data is there for all to see, as it was last year for the sharp acceleration Greek borrowing (while data on some short term borrowing or assets may be harder to come by).
Obfuscation can help buy some time. At some point, the press helps crystallise worries and channel changing perceptions. But it shouldn’t be a port of call for data.

Ciaran the data may well be available however it is only the economically literate who can accurately determine meaning from it.

Press articles usually have such a person to highlight and translate and supply context to the said data or data sets.

Doing ones own homework is important too but in the interests of practicality news articles are far easier for the layman.

Not everyone who reads this blog has B.A Econ after their name. Some of us are just trying to learn what went wrong in Ireland.

@ Michael

is that Irish govt holdings, or simply Irish domiciled holdings? That size would make more sense being the latter, and as such probably bank and insurance companies who have them, as well as the NPRF. I would imagine the NTMA is buying more like German and French t-bills.

“I would imagine the NTMA is buying more like German and French t-bills.”

Do we know if the NTMA or NPRF hold any Irish bank bonds?

@ D-E

If they or any other European body does, would that not mean that Senior Bank Det is unlikely to be torched…self interest and all that.

In the context of our national debt, I see the government on Friday last injected another €2bn into Anglo.

So now the “dead-money” bailout has cost us €16.9bn (€3.8bn + €8.3bn + €2bn + €2.7bn + €0.1bn) (Anglo 09 + Anglo 10.1 + Anglo 10.2 + INBS 10 + EBS 10).

And for all the future debate and uproar on the matter, it will merely be historical analysis. This money has been spent (or committed to by the government via promissory notes and the only way the govt can escape the commitment is to default). So gone forever.

So €16.9bn gone. The only question now is about the future estimates (€8bn + €0.75bn + €??) (Anglo + EBS + Anglo/EBS/INBS additional).

@Michael Hennigan – don’t think those US Treasury holdings have anything to do with the State, except maybe a portion held by the CB as reserves. Would reckon it’s IFSC, and about as Irish as Hypo/Depfa’s assets and liabilities.

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