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Bondholders relieved as taxpayers to foot the bill
Date 01/04/2011 14:00  Author webmaster  Hits 1198  Language Global
01 APR 2011

By Donal O'Donovan, Laura Noonan and Michael Brennan  |  Irish Independent

Bank bondholders were relieved not to suffer losses on their investments yesterday after the government left most of them untouched. Instead, most of the €24bn bill for the banks will fall on ordinary taxpayers.

Bond prices rose in reaction for AIB and Bank of Ireland as the government seemed to move away from the idea of "sharing the burden'' with bondholders.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said "burden-sharing" at Bank of Ireland and AIB had been ruled out because the banks will need to raise money in the markets in future.

However, he said Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide are in a "different category".

After the comments the prices of senior AIB and Bank of Ireland bonds shot up as stunned investors realised burden-sharing had been left out.

Matt King, global head of credit strategy at Citi Bank said it was a sad day for the Irish taxpayer.

"By failing to bite the bullet and impose losses on bank bondholders, they risk bringing the government one step closer to default. It'll be interesting to see the popular reaction in Ireland," he said.

Hostility to burden-sharing is already breaking down in Europe. German Central Bank boss Axel Weber last night backed calls to shift some of the cost of bailouts off taxpayers and on to bond investors.

In the markets, though, the focus was on AIB and Bank of Ireland.

However, while it was good news for banks, pressure continued on the government's bonds. In contrast, yields, or interest rates, on Irish government debt rose last night as investors sold those investments.

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