The Reserve Bank of India today released the April 2013 issue of its monthly Bulletin. The Bulletin includes three special articles: (i) India™s Foreign Trade: 2012-13 (April – December); (ii) North-East Monsoon 2012: An Overview (October – December) and (iii) Investment Portfolio of Scheduled Commercial Banks: March 2012.
1. India™s Foreign Trade: 2012-13 (April – December)
India™s trade performance continued to show deterioration in H1 of 2012 as export recorded a sharper decline than imports. The deterioration in export performance was broad-based in H1 of 2012-13 as compared with H2 of 2011-12 as concerns regarding global slowdown had escalated during the period. Major highlights of India™s trade performance during the period of April-December 2012-13 are set out below:
The export figures during April-December 2012 stood at US$ 214.1 billion with a decline of 5.5 per cent as compared to a growth of 29.6 per cent during April-December 2011.
Imports during this period, at a level of US$ 361.3 billion registered a decline of 0.7 per cent as against an increase of 35.2 per cent in April-December 2011.
The decline in imports was mainly on account of the fall in gold and non-oil non-gold imports. Import of petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL) continued to rise, notwithstanding a decline in international prices of crude oil (Indian basket).
The greater fall in exports than in imports resulted in a trade deficit of US$ 147.2 billion during April-December 2012, of which, oil deficit contributed the most at the level of US$ 85.4 billion.
The disaggregated data for merchandise exports of commodities during H1 of 2012-13 show that decline in exports was largely on account of reversal of growth momentum in case of exports of petroleum products and engineering goods.
Exports to EU countries have been severely impacted due to sluggish demand, particularly in Germany, Italy, UK and Belgium. Reflecting adverse spillovers from advanced economies to other economies, India™s exports to most EMDEs either declined or showed decelerated growth during H1 of 2012-13 as compared with the corresponding period of 2011-12.
2. North-East Monsoon 2012: An Overview (October – December)
The North-East monsoon during October-December 2012 was 21 per cent below its long period average (LPA) as against 48 per cent below LPA a year ago. The overall production of rabi foodgrains in 2012-13 is estimated marginally lower at 125.5 million tonnes (128.1 million tonnes in 2011-12). Rabi pulses are poised for a record production while the production of rabi oilseeds is estimated to increase. Rabi sowing has picked-up in the latter part of the season, with total area coverage under rabi crops being around 101 per cent of normal at the end of the season, marginally higher than that of the previous year.
3. Investment Portfolio of Scheduled Commercial Banks: March 2012
The article presents an analysis of the investment portfolio of scheduled commercial banks (excluding Regional Rural Banks) as at end-March 2012, based on annual Basic Statistical Return 5 (BSR-5).
The major findings of the article are as follows:
The outstanding investments of the scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) increased by 19.8 per cent in 2011-12 as compared with 8.9 per cent growth in the previous year.
Investment of SCBs in government securities increased by 23.1 per cent in 2011-12 as compared to 9.1 per cent increase in other domestic securities.
SCBs investment in securities of joint stock companies grew at 25.2 per cent in 2011-12 on top of 28.1 per cent growth in 2010-11; however, investments in certificate of deposits and commercial papers declined by 8.0 per cent.
The weighted average coupon rate of central government securities held by banks increased by 4 bps to 7.85 per cent and that of state government securities increased by 14 bps to 7.87 per cent in 2011-12.
The maturity profile of the central government securities held by the SCBs showed that the share of securities with long-term maturities of more than 11 years declined to 13.2 per cent as at end-March 2012 from 18.1 per cent in the previous year.
The maturity profile of very short-term holdings (maturing within one year) had a share of 21.0 per cent as at end-March 2012 as against 14.8 per cent as at end-March 2011, mainly due to steep increase in holdings of Treasury bills. In the case of foreign banks, Treasury bills constituted more than half of their holdings in government securities.
About 44 per cent of SCBs™ holding in central and state government dated securities (excluding Treasury bills) were with a residual maturity of 6 to 11 years as at end-March 2012. The average residual maturity was reduced to 7.18 years as on March 31, 2012 from 7.37 years a year ago.