india external debt: India’s external debt at $620.7 billion as of March 2022

India’s external debt rose 8 percent in FY’22 to $620.7 billion as short-term debt rose 20 per cent during the year. But debt to GDP ratio declined marginally to 19.9 percent, according to the latest data released by the Reserve Bank of India.

While long term debt rose 5.6 per cent to $499 billion, short-term debt increased 20 percent to $121 billion, data indicates. The share of short-term debt (with original maturity of up to one year) in total external debt increased to 19.6 per cent at end-March 2022 from 17.6 per cent at end-March 2021. Similarly, the ratio of short-term debt (original maturity) to foreign exchange reserves increased to 20.0 per cent at end-March 2022 (17.5 per cent at end-March 2021

Valuation gains due to the appreciation of the US dollar vis-à-vis Indian rupee and major currencies such as yen, SDR, and euro were placed at $ 11.7 billion. Excluding the valuation effect, external debt would have increased by $ 58.8 billion instead of $ 47.1 billion at end-March 2022 over end-March 2021.

Short-term debt on residual maturity basis (i.e., debt obligations that include long-term debt by original maturity falling due over the next twelve months and short-term debt by original maturity) constituted 43.1 per cent of total external debt at end-March 2022 (44.1 per cent at end-March 2021) and stood at 44.1 per cent of foreign exchange reserves (43.8 per cent at end-March 2021).

US dollar denominated debt remained the largest component of India’s external debt, with a share of 53.2 per cent at end-March 2022, followed by debt denominated in the Indian rupee (31.2 per cent), SDR (6.6 per cent), yen (5.4 per cent), and the euro (2.9 per cent).

Debt service (i.e., principal repayments and interest payments) declined to 5.2 per cent of current receipts at end-March 2022 as compared with 8.2 per cent at end-March 2021, reflecting lower repayments and higher current receipts. The external debt to GDP ratio declined to 19.9 per cent at end-March 2022 from 21.2 per cent at end-March 2021.

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