India's external debt mounts to USD 221.2 bn in 2007-08: RBI

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Mumbai, Jun 30 (UNI) India's external debt has mounted to USD 221.2 billion at the end of March 2008, recording an increase of USD 51.5 billion or 30.4 per cent, over the end-March 2007 level.

RBI, releasing the details rearding last year's external debt, here today, said the increase was mainly due to external commercial borrowings (ECBs) that contributed around 39.5 per cent of the increase in total external debt, followed by short term debt, whose contribution was 34.8 per cent.

Of the increase of USD 51.5 billion in external debt during the year 2007-08, valuation effect reflecting the depreciation of the US dollar against other major international currencies and Indian rupee accounted for USD 9.9 billion of the increase. This would imply that excluding the valuation effects, the stock of external debt as at end-March 2008 increased by about USD 41.6 billion over the end-March 2007 level.

RBI said all the components of external debt recorded an increase during the year. ECBs, including FCCBs, at USD 62.0 billion recorded the maximum increase of USD 20.4 billion (48.9 per cent) during the year. This was mainly due to the rising financing requirements of the Indian companies on account of their ongoing technological upgradation and capacity expansion.

The data on short term debt also included supplier's credit up to 180 days with effect from end-March 2005. Short term debt also recorded an increase of USD 17.9 billion during 2007-08. Under short term debt, while trade-related credits rose significantly by around USD 17.7 billion in line with the rising imports, Foreign Institutional Investors (FII) debt investment in government papers rose by about USD 254 million.

The other components of external debt that also recorded an increase during 2007-08 were: multilateral debt (USD 4.0 billion), bilateral debt (USD 3.6 billion), export credit above one year maturity (USD 3.2 billion) and NRI deposits (USD 2.4 billion). Rupee debt recorded a marginal rise of USD 69 million.

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