The Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) issued a circular which now permits Indian residents to hedge exchange rate and/or interest rate risk exposures on long term foreign currency borrowings by undertaking a foreign currency- Indian Rupee swap with Multilateral or International Financial Institutions (“MFI/IFI”), in which Government of India is a shareholding member. The circular enabling a resident to move from a foreign currency liability to a rupee liability, through an Authorised Dealer Category-I bank (“AD - Bank”) was issued on November 5, 2015, (“RBI Circular”), which set out the following terms and conditions:
- Such swap transactions will be have to be undertaken by the MFI/IFI on a back-to-back basis with an AD - Bank in India;
- The minimum tenor for such swaps will be 3 (three) years;
- The concerned MFI/IFI will have to bring in foreign currency funds to meet its corresponding liabilities to the counterparty AD - Bank in India, in the event the Indian resident borrower defaults on its swap obligations;
- AD – Banks will have to report such swap transaction, including details of the borrower on the Clearing Corporation of India Limited’s reporting platform. All other operational guidelines, terms and conditions relating to foreign currency-Indian Rupee swaps as laid down in earlier circular(s) will mutatis mutandis apply.
The Circular is a welcomed change brought in for Indian residents desirous of looking for long term foreign borrowings by giving them the additional option to swap their liabilities with MFI/IFIs.