The Central Statistics Office released data on Ireland’s international investment position for 2009. For the economy as a whole, Ireland’s end-2009 stocks of foreign financial assets stood at &euro2,302bn while foreign financial liabilities stood at €2,459bn. Both assets and liabilities increased compared to 2008; however, liabilities increased by €147bn while assets increased by €118bn.

Government assets and liabilities

The value of general government foreign assets reduced from €13.5bn at end-2008 to €10.4bn at end-2009. Over the same period, the level of general government foreign debt increased by over €17bn from €57.7bn to €75.2bn. In particular, foreign bonds held by the general government reduced from €2,640m at end-2008 to €425m at end-2009. The general government’s liability from bonds increased from €38,656m at end-2008 to €59,715m at end-2009.

The general government does not have any assets in money market instruments, which are debt securities issued with an initial maturity of one year or less. Compared to end-2008 the general government has reduced its liabilities in money market instruments by €3,584m at end-2009: liabilities at end-2008 stood at €19,047m and at €15,463 at end-2009. However, at end-2006 the general government had no liabilities in this category.

The foreign assets of the monetary authority, i.e. the Central Bank of Ireland, decreased to just over €16bn from almost €21bn in 2008. The sharpest decrease is seen in the loans, currency and deposits category with the holding at end-2008 being €5,040m and at end-2009 being €836m. Its foreign liabilities increased from €44.5bn to €53.5bn and includes liabilities to the TARGET 2 settlement system of the European System of Central Banks.  

Commercial financial sector

The monetary financial institutions, which are credit institutions and money markets funds, and the other financial intermediaries, which are investment funds, insurance companies and pension funds, asset finance companies, etc, combined represent the commercial financial sector. Combined, this sector had foreign assets worth €2,098bn (91 percent of foreign assets) and had foreign liabilities of €2,105bn (almost 86 percent of total foreign liabilities), which results in net foreign liabilities of €7bn.

IFSC enterprises accounted for 84 percent of the foreign assets of the sector (77 percent of Ireland’s total foreign assets) and 85 percent of the foreign liabilities (almost 73 percent of Ireland’s total foreign liabilities). IFSC enterprises therefore show a net liability position at the end of 2009 of almost €17bn.