India's total external debt stood at $251.4 billion as of end-December 2009, up $26.8 billion (or 11.9 per cent) from the end-March 2009 estimates of $224.6 billion, figures releases by the finance ministry showed.
The country's long-term debt increased by $25.0 billion (or 13.8 per cent) to $206.2 billion, while short-term debt increased by $1.8 billion (4.3 per cent) to $45.2 billion, compared with the end-March estimates of $181.2 billion and $43.4 billion, respectively.
Of the total $26.8 billion increase in India's external debt at end-December 2009, about $9.9 billion (or 40 per cent) was on account of valuation effect of the depreciation of the US dollar against major international currencies. This implies that if the US dollar had not depreciated against the major currencies, the increase in total external debt would have been only $16.9 billion to $241.5 billion.
Government (sovereign) external debt was $66.9 billion (a share of 26.6 per cent in total external debt) as at end-December 2009 as against $55.9 billion (a share of 24.9 per cent of total external debt) as at end-March 2009. The ratio of government external debt to GDP has remained around 5.0 per cent in the last three years.
US dollar denominated debt accounted for 52.0 per cent of total external debt at end-December 2009, followed by the Indian rupee (17.2 per cent), Japanese yen (12.7 per cent), SDR (11.4 per cent) and Euro (4.2 per cent).
The debt-service ratio, ie, the ratio of total debt service payments to current receipts worked out to 5.1 per cent during April-December 2009 against 4.0 per cent for April-December 2008. The ratio of short-term external debt to foreign exchange reserves decreased from 17.2 per cent at end-March 2009 to 15.7 per cent at end-December 2009.