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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

India's debt

India ranks 28th in the world in terms of the level of external debt it owes. India's external debt stood at $295.8 billion as of September-end 2010, representing an increase of 12.8 per cent over the level of $262.3 billion at end-March 2010.

Debt as in percentage of GDP: 19%
Per capita debt: $200

While long-term debt increased by 9.5 per cent to $230 billion, short-term debt registered a sharp increase of 26 per cent to $66 billion.

The total external debt increased by an absolute amount of $33.5 billion, of which $6.3 billion (roughly 19 per cent) could be ascribed to a 'valuation effect' arising due to the depreciation of the dollar against other major international currencies.

The impact of dollar devaluation on India has expectedly been sharp, given that over half of India's external debt is dollar denominated.

External commercial borrowings, mainly by the Indian corporate sector seeking to benefit from the arbitrage between domestic and international interest rates, are an important reason for the rapidly increasing external debt.

The share of ECBs in total external debt stood at 28 per cent, followed by Non-Resident Indian deposits (17 per cent) and multilateral debt (16 per cent).

It is the sharp increase in short-term debt that is a cause for some concern, especially with the current account deficit approaching 4 per cent of the gross domestic product.

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