Ireland’s Recovery a ‘Template’ for Europe, World: Templeton
Ireland has quietly slipped from the headlines besieging the debt-ridden euro zone, and perhaps for good reason.
In a recent interview with Dow Jones Newswires, Irish Deputy Finance Minister Brian Hayes said there are early signs that the country’s crisis could be ending, pointing to data that showed the government taking in more tax revenues this year, that international companies are investing again, and that the country had stopped "hemorrhaging" jobs.
The improving economic environment has instilled confidence in Michael Hasenstab, Co-Director for the International Bond Department of the Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group, whose Templeton Global Total Return Fund counts Ireland as its fifth-largest investment at 6.2 percent of total holdings.
Ireland is a "turnaround story" representing a longer term "three-to-five year trade," Hasenstab told CNBC Asia's 'Squawk Box’ on Tuesday, and added that the country's fiscal resolve combined with a strategy to grow the economy is not just a lesson for the country's neighbors in Europe.
"What Ireland is doing is not only a template for what the Euro zone needs to do, but what the U.S. needs to do, what Japan needs to do," said Hasenstab, who personally manages $150 billion worth of fixed income assets.
"And that is dealing with both the debt and the growth. So they (Ireland) dealt with the debt, with fiscal austerity, that was tough in the short term but set the stage for the future and they dealt with the growth by remaining competitive."
Not everyone agrees holding Irish bonds is the right strategy. “You have had the juice on the bonds and 5-year debt at roughly 5.5 percent is not overwhelming,” Patrick Perret-Green, head of FX & rates strategy for Asia at Citi, told CNBC.
“The Irish have been the poster boys for austerity in Europe but if the broader environment continues to deteriorate then so too could the debt,” he added. “I would say if you believe in Spain then buying Spanish debt is probably a better trade here, but if you don't then you wouldn't want to own Irish debt either.”