Economy to return to pre-Covid levels early next year – NTMA CEO
The chief executive of the National Treasury Management Agency, Conor O’Kelly, has told an audience of investors that the economy is set to return to pre-pandemic levels of activity early next year.
Speaking at an event organised by the Irish Strategic Investment Fund, Mr O’Kelly said Ireland’s position coming out of the pandemic crisis “couldn’t be more different” from the period following the financial crisis.
Mr O’Kelly said technology, pharma, food and financial services companies in Ireland are all exporting goods and services that are in demand, creating “sustainable profitability” and government revenue.
On the tax front, income tax fell in the last crisis by 11%, but is now already 17% above its 2019 level.
Disposable income, despite the pandemic, has risen by 5% compared to a fall of the same magnitude during the last recession.
He said since the onset of the pandemic, the NTMA has raised €35.75 billion at an average rate of 0.16%. Over 70% of these bonds have been purchased by the European Central Bank.
The average interest rate payable on Ireland’s national debt will, he said, fall to a record low of 1.5% this year, dipping below €3.5 billion.
The NTMA boss described Ireland as one of the “outlier” countries during the financial crisis whereas now, he believes, we are in a “middle of the pack” position.