India May Allow Foreigners to Buy More Sovereign Bonds, BS Says
Indian five hundred rupee banknotes are arranged for a photograph in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

India May Allow Foreigners to Buy More Sovereign Bonds, BS Says

(Bloomberg) -- India is considering raising the limit for foreign investors in government bonds to at least 10% of outstanding stock from the current 6%, as it seeks to include the debt in global indexes, the Business Standard reported, citing unnamed sources.

The finance ministry has written to JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bloomberg LP, who manage such indexes, to advance the inclusion, the report said. Any decision may be announced in the budget likely February, according to the report.

The proposal comes amid eroding appetite for Indian debt due to concerns about a wider fiscal deficit, rising inflation and volatile oil prices. Yields surged over 30 basis points since the Reserve Bank of India shocked markets last week with a surprising pause in its easing cycle.

India May Allow Foreigners to Buy More Sovereign Bonds, BS Says

Foreign funds bought 2.1 trillion rupees ($30 billion) of Indian sovereign debt as of Dec. 12, less than the 3.61 trillion rupees they’re allowed to purchase under current limits, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Any move to ease access to India’s debt, currently the most restrictive among Asian economies, can lead to large inflows, according to a recent survey of asset managers by Bloomberg.

Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Barclays Indices, in September had announced that it would help Indian authorities navigate a course to inclusion in international bond benchmarks. India’s plans might include a possible sovereign bond sale, but the central bank is opposed to it as it doesn’t want to face currency risk, the report said.

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