×
Home Companies Industry Politics Money Opinion LoungeMultimedia Science Education Sports TechnologyConsumerSpecialsMint on Sunday
×

RBI to dip into dollar reserves for energy assets

RBI to dip into dollar reserves for energy assets
Comment E-mail Print Share
First Published: Fri, Aug 26 2011. 06 55 PM IST
Updated: Fri, Aug 26 2011. 06 55 PM IST
Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has agreed to earmark some dollar funds from foreign exchange reserves, reversing its earlier stance, to partly fund the government’s strategic wealth fund that will buy energy assets overseas, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said on Friday.
The government has been keen to set up a sectoral fund, which could exceed $10 billion, to buy coal blocks, minerals, gas and oilfields abroad to meet the growing energy needs of Asia’s third-largest economy, a government source said.
“The basic objective of the fund is to use it as a war chest to fund buys abroad. China is already big in this process but we need to also be alert to these opportunities,” the source said.
“One of the options is the government can buy dollars from the RBI and provide the equivalent rupees at market rate,” said a RBI source. The rupee equivalent can be garnered from state-run firms’ cash surpluses or from a part of the proceeds obtained from planned sales of their shares, the RBI source said.
He said the sectoral fund was different from a sovereign wealth fund (SWF), as it would not be driven by the profit motive. A sovereign wealth fund is similar to a private equity fund which invests in strategic stocks for wealth creation.
The RBI has not been keen to use dollar reserves to partially fund the strategic sovereign wealth fund as a major part of the bank’s reserves consist of portfolio inflows which are volatile, unlike long-term stable foreign direct investment (FDI). Besides, such dollar inflows help to bridge the country’s current account deficit, which stood at 2.6% of gross domestic product (GDP) at the end of March.
However, the RBI is making an exception as the special purpose vehicle will not be driven by the profit motive and will only restrict its investment in energy assets which will be important for the country’s energy security.
“There is no timeframe to seed this fund. There will be more deliberations to finalize the contours and then it will go to the Cabinet for approval,” the government source added.
Comment E-mail Print Share
First Published: Fri, Aug 26 2011. 06 55 PM IST
More Topics: RBI | India | Fund | Energy | Dollar Funds |