Brian Lenihan: last week the finance minister secured an agreement that Nama debts would not be added to the country's national debt

Last week's decision by European statistics agency Eurostat not to count Nama borrowings as part of the gross national debt has not changed how key ratings agency Fitch views Ireland's indebtedness.

Brian Coulton, head of global economics at Fitch Ratings, said Nama loans will still count as national debt regardless of Eurostat's accounting, and stripping out the debt will not improve the way Fitch rates Ireland's creditworthiness.

"It will allow the government to show the figures in the best light. But as far as we are concerned Ireland is obligated to pay the bonds," he said.

Last week Eurostat's preliminary decision to strip out the additional €54bn bond debt the government will raise to pay for five banks' Nama loans was welcomed by finance minister Brian Lenihan for reducing Ireland GDP/ debt ratio and its gross debt.

But Coulton said the Nama bonds will help drive Ireland's debt ratio to 110% of GDP, amounting to €186bn, the third-largest ratio in the euro zone, in 2011. Only Italy and Greece, at 120% of GDP, will have higher debt ratios by then.

Coulton also warned that the agreement with the European Commission to slash the annual budget deficit to 3% of GDP from about 12.5% in the next few years "looks quite tough". He said the government's record in delivering cuts had been good so far but that its success in implementing cuts in the December budget will be "key". Debt markets will continue to assess the "political risk" of the government failing to deliver, he said.

The success of Nama could help "assuage the concerns" of international lenders about the banking system here but the government will have to prevent shocks such as annual budget deficits rising sharply, Coulton said.