An increase by about 43B compared with 2012-13 year

Debt: The country had an outstanding external debt of Nu 139 billion (B) as of March this year of which more than 83 percent is rupee denominated debt, according to the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA).

This is an increase of about Nu 43B compared with the debt position in the fiscal year 2012-13 standing at Nu 95.9B.

While the convertible currency debt has increased from Nu 34.5B (USD 579M) to Nu 39.5B (USD 585M), the rupee denominated debt has increased substantially on account of hydropower debt.

Of the Nu 100.23B rupee denominated debt, as of March this year, Nu 93.23B is hydropower debt.

According to  monthly statistical bulletin of the RMA, outstanding debt for Punatshangchhu I has swelled from Nu 21.5B in 2012-13 to Nu 40.79B in March this year. For Punatsahngchhu II, the outstanding loan as of March was Nu 27.48B and Mangdechhu was Nu 20.9B. The hydropower loan excludes the accrued interest.

On the flip side, Tala’s loan was brought down from Nu 7.3B in 2012-13 to Nu 4B in March and Kurichhu’s loan has been liquidated beginning this year.

Non-hydro rupee loans stood at Nu 7B availed from the Government of India (GoI) line of credit. The over draft facility, RBI swap and loans for Dungsam Cement has all been liquidated.

In 2012-13, the country had Nu 10B GoI line of credit in addition to Nu 5.4B credit from RBI swap and Nu 1.56B loan for Dungsam. Rupee loan from the State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank, which stood at Nu 5.15B in 2011-12 was also liquidated the following fiscal year.

As for the convertible currency loan, as of March, the country owes Nu 12.4B or USD 183M to the World Bank and Nu 16.5B (USD 251M) to the Asian Development Bank. The remaining convertible currency public debt was availed from IFAD, governments of Austria and Denmark, and JICA.

Private debt denominated in convertible currency has decreased substantially from Nu 375M to Nu 21.6M.

The RMA figures also comes with a disclaimer that debt data includes the total external debt of the country (both public and private) and are therefore not comparable to data published by the finance ministry.

In the domestic credit market, Bank of Bhutan’s contribution to credit remains at top with 29 percent followed by Bhutan National Bank with 27 percent.

Until June this year, financial institutions have loaned out Nu 85.7B to various sectors.

Credit of about Nu 19.25B was extended to building and construction, followed by the trade and commerce sectors at Nu 16.9B. In the sectors of personal loan, manufacturing and service and tourism, about Nu 11B each has been lent out.  Agriculture loan in the credit market stands at Nu 4.4B and loan against shares at Nu 402M.

Tshering Dorji