The Q1 2013 Funding of the Exchequer Balance note published by the NTMA on Friday contains the following:
31/03/13 Balances of €33,049m (31/12/12: €23,997m) were held in Departmental Funds & Other Accounts, including the Exchequer A/C.
These balances are now equal to 20% of GDP. Of the total, €3.9 billion is accounted for by notes from the Housing Finance Agency which still leaves €29 billion in the Exchequer and Other Accounts (though presumably the HFA notes could be sold).
The Exchequer Borrowing Requirement (EBR) for the remainder of 2013 could be around €10 billion (depending on the outcome of the IBRC liquidation) and there is bond of just over €4.5 billion maturing in a little over a week’s time. The full-year EBR for 2014 is projected to be around €8 billion with a €7.5 billion bond maturing in the middle of January. These total €30 billion and could be met from existing resources but it is expected that additional funding will be sought.
There is still around €10 billion of funds to be drawn from the €67.5 billion total available under the EU/IMF programme as €57.3 billion had been forwarded to Ireland by the end of March.
The NTMA has announced an intention to raise €10 billion through the issue of new government bonds in 2013. Three-quarters of this has already been achieved with €2.5 billion raised from a 2017 bond in January and €5 billion from a 2023 bond in March.
Since 2008 contributions to the national savings schemes have increased significantly. At the end of 2007, these schemes had attracted a total of €4.5 billion. In 2012, around €2.2 billion was placed with the schemes and the total had increased to €14.5 billion by the end of the year. These contributions have continued in 2013 with the NTMA Funding note showing that a further €0.6 billion was added in the first quarter.
The Treasury Bill programme was resumed last July and there is now €1.5 billion in issue across three €500 million tranches (maturing April 22, May 20 & June 24) with monthly auctions likely to continue.
Just over €1 billion was paid into the Exchequer Account in January as a result of the sale of BOI contingent capital notes. A further €1.3 billion will be received when the sale of Irish Life is completed.
This means that cash balances could be maintained at around €30 billion in December 2013 if the EU/IMF draw downs, bond/bill issues, and savings contributions set out above are made which would roughly cover twice over the €15.5 billion gross financing need for 2014. Whatever significant difficulties the economy faces, the government running out of cash in the near term is not one of them.