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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

India's Forex reserves in trouble - Goldman Sachs

Decline in capital inflows as a result of ongoing global financial turmoil may see India's foreign exchange reserves depleting by $ 39 billion during 2008-09, says a report by global banker Goldman Sachs.

also read : US recession - Why it happened

India's foreign exchange reserves, which were around $ 310 billion in March 2008, have been declining steadily and may go down to $ 271 by the close of current financial years, the report said.

The decline would mainly be on account of rising current account deficit, it said, adding "capital inflows fell to $ 13.2 billion (in Q1 2008-09) from $ 17.3 billion in Q1 of 2007-08 and $ 25.4 billion in the previous quarter (Jan-March)."

As per the latest RBI data, the country's foreign exchange reserves declined to $ 292 billion as on September 19, 2008, which can be attributed to higher trade deficit and declining portfolio investment.

Pointing out that the current account deficit will remain high during the year, the Goldman Sachs report said, "it would be a bigger concern with oil at $ 150 a barrel than at current prices."

also read : US recession - Why it happened

It further added, "with oil prices coming off substantially, one of the biggest threats to the current account deficit has been alleviated."

Even in the event of a sudden stop in capital flows, the report said, country's buffer of forex reserves would be sufficient to fund the current account and external debt payments.

At $ 271 billion in March 2009, the report said, the country would have sufficient reserves to meet 10.3 months of import bill, down from 15 months of imports in March 2008.

also read : US recession - Why it happened