India Defers Plan to Join Euroclear and Emerging-Market Bond Indices
India defers plan to join Euroclear and emerging-market bond indices.Reuters

India has put off plans to join major emerging market bond indices that would entail the elimination of restrictions on capital inflows, which meant the rupee took a knock.

Meanwhile, plans to join Brussels-based Euroclear bank - the biggest provider of cross-border settlement services for securities trades - have also been deferred till the next government takes office, reported Reuters.

India's month-long general elections will end in May.

EM Bond Indices

The news about shelving India's inclusion in emerging market bond indices, dragged the rupee down further from its seven-month high of 60.5925 to the US dollar, struck in early trade on 11 March. The rupee shed nearly 20 paise after the news, to the day's low of 60.9450.

Euroclear Plans

Settlement of India's locally-issued government bonds through Euroclear would have removed any regulatory hurdles for foreign investors.

Officials said Euroclear would have to open an account within India, a precondition for settling the bonds and would need a raft of regulatory changes in India.

"The plan for joining global bond indices has virtually been dumped over differences of abolishing investment limits on FIIs (foreign institutional investors) in government bonds," a senior official with direct knowledge of the matter told the news agency.

Confirming the failure of talks, a second official said: "As regards the issue of India's plan to enter into JP Morgan debt index and other global indices, no action is being envisaged."

"We are not yet ready to join the Euroclear due to its tough conditions," the first official said, without giving details.

"The next government can take a decision."

"This has been put on hold till the time we get a new government, so nothing major as of now. All eyes are on election results," said Anubhuti Sahay, economist at Standard Chartered Bank.

The rupee has recovered 8% since September 2013.

India's finance minister P Chidambaram and Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan initiated talks with index compilers including JPMorgan in a bid to attract billions of dollars in investment after the rupee tanked to a record low in August 2013.

Talks with Euroclear got a boost after the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank's private-sector arm, issued the first tranche of a $1bn global offering of rupee-linked bonds in 2013 that would be accessible through Euroclear.