The foreign exchange reserves stood at $360.2 billion as at end-March 2016
GN Bureau | January 16, 2017
The Reserve Bank holds 557.77 tonnes of gold; of which, 265.49 tonnes are held overseas in safe custody with the Bank of England and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). Gold as a share of the total foreign exchange reserves in value terms ($) stood at about 5.75 percent as at end-September, 2016, said an RBI report.
Reserve Bank of India’s Half Yearly Report on Management of Foreign Exchange Reserves April-September 2016 said that the net IIP as at end-September 2016 was negative at $367.6 billion, implying that our external liabilities are more than external assets. The net IIP as at end-September 2015 and end- March 2016 was $ (-) 357.0 billion and $ (-) 361.2 billion respectively.
India’s International Investment Position (IIP) is a summary record of the stock of country’s external financial assets and liabilities.
The net forward assets (receivables) of the Reserve Bank in domestic foreign exchange market stood at $ 4,890 million as at the end of September 2016.
The foreign exchange reserves stood at $ 360.2 billion as at end-March 2016. During the half year under review, reserves increased to $ 363.0 billion as at end-April 2016, which declined to $ 361.6 billion as at end-May 2016. Subsequent months witnessed an increase in the reserves, which stood at $ 363.5 billion as at end-June 2016, $ 366.5 billion as at end-July 2016, $ 366.8 billion as at end-August 2016 and $ 372.0 billion as at end of September 2016.
Although both US dollar and Euro are intervention currencies and the Foreign Currency Assets (FCA) are maintained in major currencies, the foreign exchange reserves are denominated and expressed in US dollar only. Movements in the FCA occur mainly on account of purchases and sales of foreign exchange by the RBI, income arising out of the deployment of the foreign exchange reserves, external aid receipts of the central government and changes on account of revaluation of the assets.
The foreign currency assets comprise multi-currency assets that are held in multi-asset portfolios as per the existing norms, which are similar to the best international practices followed in this regard. As at end-September 2016 out of the total foreign currency assets of $ 346.7 billion, $ 229.0 billion was invested in securities, $ 95.7 billion was deposited with other central banks, the BIS and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and remaining $ 22.0 billion comprised deposits with overseas branches of commercial banks.
The report said that in tune with the global trend, close attention is paid to strengthen the operational risk control arrangements. Key operational procedures are documented. Internally, there is total separation of the front office and the back office functions and the internal control systems ensure several checks at the stages of deal capture, deal processing and settlement. The deal processing and settlement system, including generation of payment instructions, is also subject to internal control guidelines based on the principle of one-point data entry. There is a system of concurrent audit for monitoring compliance in respect of all the internal control guidelines. Further, reconciliation of accounts is done regularly. In addition to internal annual inspection, the accounts are audited by external statutory auditors. There is a comprehensive reporting mechanism covering significant areas of activity/ operations relating to reserve management. These are provided to the senior management periodically, viz., on daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, half-yearly and yearly intervals, depending on the type and sensitivity of information.
Read: Half Yearly Report on Management of Foreign Exchange Reserves April-September 2016
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