* Debt agency says issue in ‘near future’
* Syndicated offer aims to lock in record low yields
* Market participants see issue around 2 bln euros (Adds details of possible size, timing)
By Conor Humphries
DUBLIN, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Ireland has mandated bond dealers to help issue its first 30-year syndicated bond issue in a bid to lock in record low funding levels following the launch of the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing programme.
The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) said in a statement it had picked a number of its primary bond dealers to issue the new benchmark bond “in the near future”, language it has previously used when selling debt the next day.
The debt agency last month sold 4 billion euros of seven-year debt in a syndicated offering out of a total planned issuance of 12-15 billion euros this year.
A market source told Reuters that benchmark 30-year bonds would typically be in the range of 1.5 to 2 billion euros.
“With so much of euro zone debt in negative yield territory, I think this will meet with strong demand,” said Goodbody Stockbrokers chief economist Dermot O‘Leary, who said the NTMA may start with around 2 billion euros and built on that later in the year.
Like much of the euro zone, Irish bond yields have fallen sharply in the past year, aided by an economic recovery which likely saw Ireland’s economy grow faster than any other country in the European Union last year.
The cost of borrowing 10-year money on secondary markets on Monday was close to record lows registered last month after ECB President Mario Draghi announced a trillion-euro scheme to buy government bonds.
As well as beginning to cover its funding requirements for 2016, Ireland needs to raise debt this year to finish refinancing the majority of its bailout loans from the International Monetary Fund.
Barclays, Citi, Credit Agricole CIB , Danske Bank, Davy, and Royal Bank Of Scotland have been appointed as joint lead managers for the transaction, the agency said in a statement. (Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Robin Pomeroy/Hugh Lawson)