India's external debt stood at $485.6 billion at March-end 2016, increasing by $10.6 billion, or 2.2 per cent, year-on-year due to rise in long-term debt, particularly NRI deposits. At March-end 2016, long-term external debt was $402.2 billion, up 3.3 per cent over the year-ago period.
Long-term external debt accounted for 82.8 per cent of total external debt in the said period as against 82 per cent at end-March 2015, as per the 22nd issue of the Annual Publication titled India's External Debt: A Status Report 2015-16.
"The rise in external debt was due to the rise in long-term debt, particularly NRI deposits," said the report prepared by the Department of Economic Affairs. As per the report, short-term external debt declined by 2.5 per cent to $83.4 billion at March-end 2016, from $84.7 billion at March-end 2015. This was mainly due to the decline in trade-related credits. The share of short-term external debt in total external debt dropped to 17.2 per cent, from 18 per cent a year ago.
"India's external debt has remained within manageable limits in 2015-16 as indicated by increase in foreign exchange reserves to debt ratio to 74.2 per cent, the external debt-GDP ratio of 23.7 per cent, and a fall in short-term debt to 17.2 per cent," said the report. External debt of the country continues to be dominated by the long-term borrowings. A cross-country comparison based on 'International Debt Statistics 2016' of the World Bank, which presents the debt data for 2014, shows that "India continues to be among the less vulnerable countries with its external debt indicators comparing well with other indebted developing countries". Moreover, India saw a record inflow of over $1.3 billion from listed foreign funds in August, primarily on account of strong capital infusion in passive funds, a report said.
In comparison, listed foreign funds poured in $1.2 billion in July after pulling out $332 million in the preceding month. Overall, the country has seen an inflow of $545 million so far this year. “Listed fund flows to India recorded $1.34 billion in August with strong inflows in passive funds at $845 million,” said a Kotak Institutional Equities report. India is followed by Taiwan, which attracted an inflow of $1 billion. The listed funds -- passive exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and active non-ETFs -- generally account for a large part of foreign portfolio investor (FPI) activity in India.
ETFs have seen higher inflows compared with non-ETFs during the month under review. Indian market witnessed inflow worth $845 million and $499 million in ETFs and non-ETFs segments, respectively. The report, which offers a comprehensive view on fund flows of listed funds into India and other emerging markets, said net FPI activity across emerging markets remained positive in August.