The country’s foreign exchange reserves surged to USD 576.98 billion as on March 31, 2021 from USD 544.69 billion at September-end last year, an RBI report said. Foreign currency assets (FCA), a major component of the overall reserves, increased to USD 536.693 billion as at March-end 2021 from USD 502.162 billion, the report noted.
On balance of payments basis (excluding valuation changes), foreign exchange reserves increased by USD 83.9 billion during April-December 2020 as compared with USD 40.7 billion in the year-ago period, it said. Foreign exchange reserves in nominal terms (including valuation changes) increased by USD 108 billion during April-December 2020 as against USD 47 billion in the corresponding period of 2019-20.
At the end of December 2020, the foreign exchange reserves cover of imports increased to 18.6 months from 17.1 months at September-end 2020, RBI said in its report on management of foreign exchange reserves — October 2020-March 2021, released on Wednesday. The net forward asset (receivable) of the Reserve Bank in the domestic foreign exchange market stood at USD 68.2 billion as at March-end 2021.
As on March 31, 2021, the Reserve Bank held 695.31 metric tonnes of gold. While 403.01 metric tonnes of gold is held overseas in safe custody with the Bank of England and the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), 292.30 tonnes of gold is held domestically, the report said. In value terms (USD), the share of gold in the total foreign exchange reserves decreased from about 6.69 per cent as at September-end 2020 to about 5.87 per cent as on March 31, 2021. Gold reserves stood at USD 33.88 billion at end-March 2021 as against USD 36.429 billion by September 2020, the report said.