- 02 May 2020
- 4 min read
Why in News
According to the recent data from the Reserve Bank of India, India’s Foreign Exchange (Forex) reserves declined by $113 million to $479.45 billion in the week to 24 April, 2020 due to a fall in foreign currency assets.
- Changes in forex reserves holdings.
- The foreign currency assets (FCAs) decreased by $321 million to $441.56 billion.
- Gold reserves rose by $221 million to $32.901 billion.
- The special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) fell by $6 million to $1.42 billion.
- The country’s reserve position with the IMF also was down by $8 million to $3.57 billion.
- Earlier, the reserve had touched a life-time high of $487.23 billion in the week ended by 6 March, 2020.
- During 2019-20, the country’s foreign exchange reserves rose by almost $62 billion.
Foreign Exchange Reserves
- Foreign exchange reserves are assets held on reserve by a central bank in foreign currencies, which can include bonds, treasury bills and other government securities.
- It needs to be noted that most foreign exchange reserves are held in U.S. dollars.
- These assets serve many purposes but are most significantly held to ensure that the central bank has backup funds if the national currency rapidly devalues or becomes altogether insolvent.
- India’s Forex Reserve include:
- Foreign Currency Assets
- Gold reserves
- Special Drawing Rights
- Reserve position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Foreign Currency Assets (FCA)
- FCAs are assets that are valued based on a currency other than the country's own currency.
- FCA is the largest component of the forex reserve. It is expressed in dollar terms.
- The FCAs include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US units like the euro, pound and yen held in the foreign exchange reserves.
Special drawing rights (SDR)
- The SDR is an international reserve asset, created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement its member countries’ official reserves.
- The SDR is neither a currency nor a claim on the IMF. Rather, it is a potential claim on the freely usable currencies of IMF members. SDRs can be exchanged for these currencies.
- The value of the SDR is calculated from a weighted basket of major currencies, including the U.S. dollar, the euro, Japanese yen, Chinese yuan, and British pound.
- The interest rate on SDRs or (SDRi) is the interest paid to members on their SDR holdings.
Reserve Position in the International Monetary Fund
- A reserve tranche position implies a portion of the required quota of currency each member country must provide to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that can be utilized for its own purposes.
- The reserve tranche is basically an emergency account that IMF members can access at any time without agreeing to conditions or paying a service fee.