India's external debt up $29.5 bn at $475.8 bn at end-March 2015

29 August 2015

India's external debt increased by $29.5 billion (6.6 per cent) to $475.8 billion at end-March 2015, compared to the level at end-March 2014, due mainly to a rise in long-term external debt, particularly commercial borrowings and NRI deposits.

"The rise in commercial borrowings was due to spike in commercial bank loans and securitised borrowing. ECB has always been occupying the highest share in India's external debt over the years. As at end-March 2015, ECB has the highest share of 38.2 per cent in India's external debt," an official release said on Friday.

However, as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the country's external debt works out to be 23.8 per cent at the end of March 2015, up from 23.6 per cent as of March 2014, as per the status paper on `India's External Debt: 2014-15' released on Friday.

India's long-term external debt stood at $391.1 billion at end-March 2015, showing an increase of 10.3 per cent over the level at end-March 2014. At this level, long-term external debt accounted for 82.2 per cent of total external debt at end-March 2015 vis--vis 79.5 per cent at end-March 2014.

Short-term external debt stood at $84.7 billion at end-March 2015, showing a decline of 7.6 per cent over $91.7 billion at the end-March 2014. This was mainly due to the decline in FII investment in government treasury bills.

Thus, the share of short-term external debt in total external debt declined from 20.5 per cent at end-March 2014 to 17.8 per cent at end-March 2015.

Government (sovereign) external debt stood at $89.7 billion at end-March 2015 vis-a-vis $83.7 billion at end-March 2014. The share of government external debt in total external debt was 18.9 per cent at end-March 2015 vis--vis 18.8 per cent at end-March 2014.

India's external debt has remained within manageable limits as indicated by the external debt-GDP ratio of 23.8 per cent during 2014-15.

The external debt of the country continues to be dominated by the long-term borrowings.

A cross country comparison based on `International Debt Statistics 2015' of the World Bank which presents the debt data for 2013, shows that India continues to be among the less vulnerable countries with its external debt indicators comparing well with other indebted developing countries. India's key debt indicators, especially debt to GNI and debt service ratios continue to be comfortable.

The report is based on the data released by the Reserve Bank of India on 30 June 2015.

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