Irish sell long-term bonds for 1st time in 2 years

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Associated Press

Posted on July 26, 2012 at 12:02 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 26 at 12:02 PM

LONDON (AP) — Ireland has sold more than €5.2 billion ($6.4 billion) in long-term bonds for the first time in nearly two years — a major test of sentiment toward the bailed-out nation.

Ireland's National Treasury Management Agency aimed the surprise auction of 5-year and 8-year bills primarily at existing institutional holders of Irish bonds due for redemption in 2013 and 2014. But in a sign of growing market confidence, most of Thursday's buyers have invested new cash and not flipped their existing debt holdings.

The 2017 bonds offer a yield of 5.9 percent, the 2020 bonds 6.1 percent.

Ireland withdrew from bond markets in September 2010 as its borrowing costs soared, and negotiated a European Union/International Monetary Fund bailout two months later. The €67.5 billion ($82 billion) loan fund ends next year.

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