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India’s trade deficit widens to $16.8 billion

Gold imports stood at $5.61 billion in November this year as against $835.83 million in the corresponding month in 2013, according to the data released by the Commerce Ministry

 

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry released figures of India's balance of trade yesterday, 16 December. India's trade deficit widened to one-and-a-half year high of $16.86 billion in November 2014 due to over six-fold jump in gold imports even as merchandise exports grew by 7.27%. Trade deficit in November last year was $9.57 billion. Gold imports stood at $5.61 billion in November this year as against $835.83 million in the corresponding month in 2013, according to the data released by the Commerce Ministry.     
 
Total imports in November, including oil, jumped by 26.79% to $42.82 billion. Oil imports have dipped by 9.7% to $11.71 billion. Non-oil imports, however, grew by 49.6% to $31.10 billion. Merchandise exports grew to $25.96 billion after recording a contraction in October.    
 
During April-November 2014, imports were up 4.65% to $316.37 billion, while exports were up 5.02% to $215.75 billion. Trade deficit during this period stood at $100.61 billion as against $96.89 billion in the same period last fiscal.

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RBI allows banks to restructure term loans of over Rs500 crore

The Reserve Bank allowed banks to flexibly structure existing project loans of over Rs500 crore in infrastructure and core industries with the option to periodically refinance the project

 

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed banks to flexibly restructure existing long term project loans in infrastructure and core industries worth exceeding Rs500 crore.

 

"Only term loans to projects, in which the aggregate exposure of all institutional lenders exceeds Rs500 crore, in the infrastructure sector and in the core industries sector will qualify for such flexible structuring and refinancing," the central bank said in a circular issued on 15 December 2014.

 

RBI said, banks may fix a fresh loan amortisation schedule for the existing project loans once during the life time of the project, after the date of commencement of commercial operations (DCCO), based on the reassessment of the project cash flows, without this being treated as ‘restructuring’. It, however, would require that the loan is a standard loan as on the date of change of loan amortisation schedule; net present value of the loan remains same before and after the change in loan amortisation schedule. In addition, the fresh loan amortisation schedule should be within 85% (leaving a tail of 15%) of the initial concession period in case of infrastructure projects under public private partnership (PPP) model; or 85% of the initial economic life envisaged at the time of project appraisal for determining the user charges / tariff in case of non-PPP infrastructure projects; or 85% of the initial economic life envisaged at the time of project appraisal by lenders independent engineer in the case of other core industries projects.

 

The viability of the project must be reassessed by the bank and vetted by the Independent Evaluation Committee constituted under the aegis of the Framework for Revitalising Distressed Assets in the Economy dated January 30, 2014 and communicated to the banks by Indian Banks' Association (IBA) vide its circular No. C&I/CIR/2013-14/9307 on 29 April 2014, the RBI said.

 

The Reserve Bank said, banks may refinance the project term loan periodically like five to seven years after the project has commenced commercial operations. The repayments at the end of each refinancing period, equal in value to the remaining residual payments corresponding to the Fresh Loan Amortisation Schedule, could be structured as a bullet repayment, with the intent specified up front that it will be refinanced.

 

"The refinance may be taken up by the same lender or a set of new lenders, or combination of both, or by issue of corporate bond, as refinancing debt facility, and such refinancing may repeat till the end of the Fresh Loan Amortisation Schedule. The proviso regarding net present value would not be applicable at the time of periodic refinancing of the project term loan,” the central bank added.

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