India among top five sovereign EM debt issuers: Moody’s

Compared to debt volumes as of end-2000, China has overtaken India and Brazil as the largest debt issuer in 2014


India also represented a significant share of total local currency government debt. Photo: Bloomberg
India also represented a significant share of total local currency government debt. Photo: Bloomberg

New Delhi: India ranks among the top five sovereign debt issuers from the emerging economies after China, said Moody’s Investors Service. “The top five largest sovereign EM (emerging market) debt issuers, as of end-2014, were China (with $3.5 trillion total sovereign debt outstanding), India ($1.3 trillion), Brazil ($1.2 trillion), Mexico ($387.5 billion) and Turkey ($265.5 billion),” it said in a report.

Compared to debt volumes as of end-2000, China has overtaken India and Brazil as the largest debt issuer in 2014, it said. EM sovereign debt outstanding has grown almost five times between 2000 and 2014. The report further said that the vast majority of new issuance by emerging market governments or central banks has been directed to debt denominated in local currencies. “...while EM foreign currency denominated debt grew one and a half times (from $0.9 trillion in 2000 to $1.2 trillion in 2014), EM local currency debt grew more than six-fold (from $1.4 trillion in 2000 to $8.7 trillion in 2014),” it said. India and Brazil also represented a significant share of total local currency government debt, at 14.7% and 13.3% respectively—each holding a larger share individually than the share of LatAm (ex-Brazil) and Asia (ex-China and India).

The report said local currency sovereign debt outstanding has grown dramatically over the 2000-14 period, on average by 14.4% per year and far outpacing the annual average of 2.3% growth rate of foreign currency sovereign debt. By 2014, 88% of total EM debt was in local currency. Overall, the report said the deepening of local sovereign bond markets has allowed governments to shift a growing portion of their funding to local currency instruments.

The associated decline of currency (and maturity) mismatches reduces the vulnerability of these countries to economic shocks and increases the effectiveness of monetary and fiscal policy. This argues for lower crisis susceptibility compared to previous decades and should also contribute to the development of private domestic financial markets, it added.