June 24, 2024, 11:47 am

Bangladesh projects manageable external debt despite rising obligations

  • Update Time : Friday, May 24, 2024
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TDS Desk:

The Finance Ministry expects external debt repayment to remain within tolerable limits over the next two fiscal years, thanks to the government’s efforts to diversify funding sources and boost foreign exchange reserves.

However, managing debt service obligations is essential for ensuring financial stability and preventing liquidity crises.

“Despite the increasing amount of external debt repayment, it is expected to remain within tolerable limits due to the government’s efforts to diversify funding sources and build up foreign exchange reserves,” the Finance Ministry said in a document.

The country’s external debt comprises both concessional and non-concessional loans, which have varying maturity periods.

According to the finance ministry document titled “Medium Term Macroeconomic Policy Statement (2023-24 to 2025-26)”, at the end of FY 2021-22, the government paid back USD 1.5 billion in principal repayment for external debt, and this amount was USD 2.1 billion in FY 2022-23.

External debt servicing crosses $2 billion in 8 months of current fiscal, up 43% year on year

The principal repayment in the current FY 2023-24 is projected to be USD 2.4 billion, and it will further increase to USD 2.6 billion by the end of FY 2025-26.

External Debt Currency Mix

The document said that the majority of the external debt is denominated in US dollars, which accounted for around 50 percent of the total external debt stock as of FY 2021-22.

Other significant currencies include the Japanese yen, which accounts for 21 percent of the total external debt, and the euro, which accounts for around 15 percent.

The remaining external debt is denominated in other currencies such as the Chinese RMB and the British pound.

External debt widens, economists say ‘worrisome’

The currency mix of external debt is a key consideration for the government as fluctuations in exchange rates can significantly impact the cost of servicing the debt, the document stated.

As of the end of March 2023, the outstanding guaranteed amount in Bangladesh was Tk 1,024.43 billion.

In the current fiscal year, the government has issued TK. 360.65 billion in new sovereign guarantees to state-owned enterprises (SOEs) for borrowing purposes.

These guarantees were primarily issued to entities such as Bangladesh Biman, power sector investments, fertilizer production plants, and TCB.

In the medium term (2025-26 fiscal), the government plans to amend the existing guidelines for guarantees to streamline the process and mitigate fiscal risks associated with sovereign guarantees.

As of June 2022, the total liabilities of SOEs in Bangladesh amounted to TK. 4,313.04 billion, which accounted for 10.85 percent of the country’s GDP.

Additionally, the outstanding balance of government on-lending to SOEs was Tk 4,180.22 billion at the end of June 2022, compared to Tk 3,537.27 billion at the end of June 2021. Source: UNB

 

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