Country's external debt for Dec at $201.4 billion

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New Delhi, Mar 31 (UNI) India's external debt outstanding at the end of December 2007 was 201.4 billion dollars (Rs 7,94,017 crore), reflecting a rise of 10.3 billion dollars over the quarter.

As compared to the level of 169.7 billion dollars at end-March 2007, India's external debt at end-December 2007 increased by 31.8 billion dollars, a finance ministry statement said.

Valuation change, due to the depreciation of US dollar vis-a-vis major international currencies and Indian Rupees, accounted for 1.1 billion dollars of the increase during the quarter and 6 billion dollars during April-December 2007.

The increase in external debt was mainly brought about by commercial borrowing and short-term debt.

Based on original maturity, long-term debt accounted for 82.6 per cent and short-term debt comprised 17.4 per cent. Long-term debt rose by 6.3 billion dollars to 166.2 billion dollars and short-term debt by 4 billion dollars to 35.2 billion dollars over the quarter.

Amongst the components of long-term debt, commercial borrowing increased by 4.9 billion dollar (9.4 per cent) to 57 billion dollars.

While NRI deposits declined by 1.5 per cent (0.6 billion dollars) to 43 billion dollars, multilateral debt, bilateral debt and export credit increased marginally to reach 37.9 billion dollars, 17.3 billion dollars and 8.9 billion dollars, respectively, at end-December 2007.

Rupee debt continued to remain around the level of 2 billion dollars. Under short-term debt, while trade related credits rose by around 4 billion dollars, FII debt investment in Government papers rose by 262 million dollars over the quarter.

In the endeavour to improve the analytical content of the report, the external debt stock at end-December 2007 is provided in terms of residual maturity as well, for the first time in the quarterly debt data release.

Based on residual maturity, long-term debt accounted for 64 per cent of total debt at end-December 2007. Short-term debt by residual maturity, consisting of principal repayments due during a one-year reference period under medium and long-term loans, and short-term debt with original maturity of one year or less, accounted for 36 per cent of the total external debt.

The share of government debt in total external debt stood at 26.3 per cent (53 billion dollars). Correspondingly, the share of non-Government (private) debt was 73.7 per cent (148.5 billion dollars).

At end-December 2007, India's foreign exchange reserves which include foreign currency assets of the Reserve Bank of India, gold, SDRs and Reserve Tranche Position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stood at 275.3 billion dollars, providing a cover of 137 per cent to total external debt, while the foreign currency assets of the RBI at 266.6 billion dollars provided a cover of 132 per cent.

The share of US dollar in India's external debt portfolio has showed an increasing trend over the last few years. It further increased to 54.5 per cent at end-December 2007 from 52 per cent at end-March 2007.


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