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Aruba, January 24, 2014 - Global investors are buying up bonds in Europe, worrying some economists who see debt levels rising again in troubled nations.
When Ireland recently made its first offering of new debt since leaving its bailout program, the Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny, was already focused on where the money would come from next. He was in Doha, Qatar, where he and the country’s prime minister, Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, smiled broadly as they posed together. The trip, earlier this month, also included a visit to Dubai, where Mr. Kenny and the head of state there, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, sat side by side on velvet and gold thronelike chairs.
Mr. Kenny next went to Riyadh, where he said he was “very much interested in finding out if the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency could resume purchasing Irish bonds as before.”
Once again, foreign investors are piling into the government bonds of Ireland, Spain and Portugal — countries that got into such debt trouble that they required bailouts. Now these countries are able to sell their bonds at lower interest rates than they have seen in years, renewing hope that Europe has turned a corner.

And yet, there are still few signs of relief from the deeper-rooted economic woes that have trapped much of the euro zone in a slump for more than five years — and that continue to be a drag on the global economy. Despite the suddenly easier terms under which Ireland and other recovering euro zone countries can borrow, the fact remains: These countries are still mired in stagnation.
If investors, in their renewed appetite for euro bonds, are betting on Europe’s recovery, it is hardly a no-risk gamble. “Things are going better, but they are by no means good,” said Jacob Kirkegaard, who tracks Europe at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

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