India’s April-September borrowing slightly above market expectations

(This March 29 story has been corrected to say 8.88 trillion rupees, instead of 8.8 trillion rupees, in paragraph 1)

By Nikunj Ohri

(Reuters) – India’s federal government plans to borrow 8.88 trillion rupees ($108.08 billion) – slightly above expectations – via bonds from the market in the first six months of the fiscal year starting April 1.

The planned April-September borrowing constitutes about 57.6% of the total 15.43 trillion rupees planned for the current fiscal year, the government said in a statement on Wednesday.

Borrowing in the first six months is slightly above market expectations of about 55% of this year’s target.

The government said the borrowing will be done through bonds of three, five, seven, 10, 14, 30 and 40 years tenure.

It plans to borrow between 310 billion and 390 billion rupees a week in the first half of the fiscal year.

Borrowing has more than doubled from levels in 2019 – when Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed to a landslide re-election – as the government’s social spending on free food and subsidies rose to record highs largely due to the pandemic.

The government plans net borrowing of 1.42 trillion rupees in the quarter ending June 30, compared with 2.40 trillion rupees in the same period last year.

The Reserve Bank of India has fixed the Ways and Mean Advances, which are temporary advances given by the central bank to governments to tide over any financing gaps, for the April-September period at 1.50 trillion rupees, the government said.

The government will continue to carry out switch operations to smooth the redemption profile, it said.

There will be no fresh issue of government green bonds in the first half of the financial year, though these may be issued in the second half, it said.

($1 = 82.1580 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Nikunj Ohri in New Delhi; Editing by William Maclean, Jonathan Oatis and Mark Heinrich)