World Economy

India Cuts Extra Borrowing by 60 Percent

Tax collection plunged after a Goods and Services Tax was implemented in July.Tax collection plunged after a Goods and Services Tax was implemented in July.

India has cut its additional market borrowing requirement for the current fiscal year by 60% after reviewing trends in revenue receipts and expenditure patterns, the finance ministry said on Wednesday, sending bond yields sharply lower.

The government would only borrow an additional Rs 200 billion ($3.13 billion) versus an initial plan of Rs 500 billion for the fiscal year ending in March, the ministry said in a statement, Business World reported.

It was not immediately clear whether the revision was due to spending cuts, or if the government would tap the short-term T-bill market to raise the remainder and may roll it over into long-term borrowings in the next fiscal year.

Asia’s third-largest economy faces the risk of missing its fiscal deficit target in the current fiscal year as lower revenue collection from slowing economic growth and teething troubles with value-added tax launched in July hit the economy.

The benchmark 10-year bond yield fell sharply by as much as 20 basis points immediately after the announcement to 7.35%. At 0600 GMT, the bond yield was down 10 basis point at 7.45%.

The government’s announcement for extra funds in late December exceeded market expectations by far, prompting traders and analysts to expect the fiscal deficit for the current year to reach 3.5% of gross domestic product versus the government’s target of 3.2%.

Tax collection plunged after a Goods and Services Tax was implemented in July, which hit the economy and complicated tax filings for business, one of the key reasons for an increase in borrowing levels.

Bond yields slumped to an 18-month low in late December after the additional borrowing announcement. “The market is still nervous ahead of the budget and the upcoming Reserve Bank of India policy next month,” said Harish Agarwal, a fixed-income trader with First Rand Bank in Mumbai. The RBI had taken advantage of a period of extraordinary low inflation to cut rates by 200 basis points between January 2015 and August 2017.

However, rising food prices pushed India’s retail inflation to a 17-month high in December, breaching the central bank’s medium-term target for the second straight month which could intensify pressure for it to raise policy rates in the next few months.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints