During the discussion of the bailout on Prime Time tonight, the prospect was raised (and not denied by Minister Batt O’Keefe) of the EFSF charging 7% to Ireland for its loans.
It may be worth taking at look at the calculations that I did on this issue a few weeks ago. I worked out the formula for the interest rate at the time as
Effective Interest Rate = 1.2*(3-year swap rate + Margin + Annualised Cost of Once-Off Service Fee)
which worked out at the time as
Effective Interest Rate = 1.2*(1.57 + 3.0 + .167) = 1.2*4.737 = 5.68.
The three-year swap rate is now 1.9%, which would give
Effective Interest Rate = 1.2*(1.9 + 3.0 + .167) = 1.2*4.737 = 6.08.
The government’s most recent projections show the debt-GDP ratio peaking at 106%. This is prior to the admission that large amounts of additional money will be borrowed to recapitalise the banking sector. Piling on an interest rate of even 6.1% onto the likely debt levels would greatly reduce the prospect of Ireland avoiding sovereign default. An interest rate of 7% would be grossly unacceptable.
Put simply, if these reports are true, the government needs to refuse any deal based on such a high interest rate. Indeed, unless the government feel compelled to play their role in a morality play in which Ireland is used as cautionary tale, they should refuse any deal featuring a rate higher than the 5% rate that Greece obtained.
Update: As commenter Tull points out, while we’re drawing down the money over three years, the relevant maturity for the interest rate would be length of time before we have to pay it back. Plug in seven years, for example, and we’d get
Effective Interest Rate = 1.2*(2.67 + 3.0 + .5/7) = 1.2*4.737 = 6.88.