External Commercial Borrowings
ECBs are loans in India made by non-resident lenders in foreign currency to Indian borrowers. They are used widely in India to facilitate access to foreign money by Indian corporations and PSUs (public sector undertakings). ECBs include commercial bank loans, buyers’ credit, suppliers’ credit, securitised instruments such as floating rate notes and fixed rate bonds etc., credit from official export credit agencies and commercial borrowings from the private sector window of multilateral financial Institutions.
Most of these loans are provided by foreign commercial banks and other institutions. For infrastructure and greenfield projects, funding up to 50% (through ECB) is allowed.
Borrowers can use 25 per cent of the ECB to repay rupee debt and the remaining 75 per cent should be used for new projects. A borrower can not refinance its entire existing rupee loan through ECB. The money raised through ECB is cheaper given near-zero interest rates in the US and Europe, Indian companies can repay part of their existing expensive loans from that.
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