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Debt leaves Ireland exposed – Moody’s

Gross government debt was around €8bn higher at the end of September than the same month last year.

The debt pile stood at €210.7bn. That compares with €202.4bn at the end of September 2016, according to the latest data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has said.

The debt-to-GDP ratio, however, is continuing to fall given the strong growth in the economy in GDP terms.

The ratio was 72.1pc at the end of September, compared with 75.1pc in the same month last year.

Yesterday, Moody’s lead analysts for Ireland, Kathrin Muehlbronner, told a conference in Dublin organised by the rating agency, that national debt remains high, leaving Ireland vulnerable in the event of a shock to growth or interest rates. A hard Brexit, and US tax changes are also risks, she said.

Net debt was €172.9bn in September, down almost €2bn from the same point in 2016 thanks largely to an increase in the value of the assets held by the Government.

Ireland has benefited more than peers from lower borrowing costs, as a result of quantitative easing but debt remains high, Moody’s noted.

The CSO said the Government recorded a deficit of €3.1bn for the first nine months of 2017, compared with €3.4bn for the same period in 2016.

Government revenue increased by €1.9bn in the first none months of 2017. Government spending increased by €1.6bn in the same period.

It comes just weeks after figures from the Department of Finance showed that the tax take for last year reached a record high of just over €50bn.

The State took in an extra €2.87bn in taxes last year compared with the previous year.

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