India’s external debt at about US$ 441 bn
India’s external debt, as at end-March 2014, was placed at US$ 440.6 billion showing an increase of US$ 31.2 billion or 7.6% over the level at end-March 2013. The increase in total external debt during financial year 2013-14 was primarily on account of rise in Non-Resident Deposits. The surge in outstanding stock of NRI deposits can mainly be attributed to mobilisation of fresh FCNR(B) deposits by commercial banks under the swap scheme offered by the Reserve Bank during September to November 2013. In terms of major components, the share of external commercial borrowings continued to be the highest at 33.3% of total external debt, followed by NRI deposits (23.6%) and short term debt (20.3%)
External Debt – Outstanding and Variation
Source: Ministry of Finance, Government of India and Reserve Bank of India
On the other hand, increase in the magnitude of external debt was partly offset by the valuation change (gain) resulting from appreciation of US dollar against Indian rupee and other international currencies. Further, share of short term debt in total debt in terms of original maturity as well as residual maturity also declined due to net repayments of short-term debt and withdrawal of FII investment from debt securities during 2013-14.
Based on residual maturity, the short-term debt accounted for 39.6% of total external debt as at end-March 2014 as compared to 42.1%% at end-March 2013. Within the short-term debt based on residual maturity, the share of NRI deposits was the highest at 31.4%. The ratio of short-term debt by residual maturity to foreign exchange reserves worked out to 57.4% at end-March 2014.The valuation gain during 2013-14 amounted to US$ 9.4 billion reflecting the appreciation of US dollar against the Indian rupee and other major currencies. Thus, excluding the valuation gains, the stock of external debt as at end-March 2014 would have increased by US$ 40.6 billion instead of US$ 31.2 billion over end-March 2013. US dollar denominated debt continued to be the largest component of India ’s external debt with a share of 61.8% as at end-March 2014, followed by Indian rupee (21.1%), SDR (6.9%), Japanese Yen (5.1%) and Euro (3.4%).
Residual Maturity of External Debt Outstanding as at End-March 2014
Government (Sovereign) external debt stood at US$ 81.5 billion as at end-March 2014 as against US$ 81.7 billion as at end-March 2013. The shares of Government and non-Government external debt in the total external debt were 18.5% and 81.5%, respectively, as at end-March 2014
India’s Key External Debt Indicators
Dr. S P Sharma
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