NRI deposits drop 55% on Gulf oil slump

rupeeThe dip in crude oil prices and the possibility of the US Federal Reserve hiking rates in December have led to the fund flow into non-resident Indian (NRI) deposit accounts dropping sharply in 2016-17.

In the first five months of the current financial year, the inflow into these deposits aggregated $3.755 billion, a fall of nearly 55 per cent year-on-year, according to data from the Reserve Bank of India.

In its latest annual report, the central bank observed that the slump in global crude oil prices from the second half of 2014-15 has impacted the momentum in remittances from West Asia, which accounts for more than half of India’s total remittances. Further, subdued income conditions in other advanced economies in the post-crisis period may also have accentuated the slowdown.

As of August-end, the banking system had NRI deposits – Foreign Currency Non Resident (Bank) Accounts, Non-Resident (External) Rupee Accounts and Non Resident Ordinary Accounts – aggregating $130.079 billion ($119.394 billion as of August 2015).

The three-year Foreign Currency Non Resident (Bank) deposits mopped up by commercial banks under the special swap scheme in 2013 started to mature from September 2016. Bankers say a portion of the $26 billion raised under the scheme is unlikely to be renewed as the interest rate differential between the US and India has narrowed after the RBI cut its policy rate by 25 basis points last week.