16 April 2016 Current Affairs: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has make masala bonds reduced the minimum tenure of such bonds that an Indian company can issue offshore to three years from the previously stated five years.It has been decided to reduce the minimum maturity period for the rupee-denominated bonds issued overseas to three years in order to align with the maturity prescription regarding foreign investment in corporate bonds through the foreign portfolio investment (FPI) route,” the central bank said in a circular on April 13,2016.Money raised through masala bonds overseas will be counted in the overall investment limit for FPIs in corporate bonds, which now stands at Rs.2.44 trillion. FPI investment limit in corporate bonds will be expressed in rupees instead of dollars, bringing it on a par with limits in government bonds. The maximum amount a single issuer can raise through masala bonds is Rs.5,000 crore.Masala bonds are issued in rupees but can be settled in US dollars and thus besides the credit risk of the issuer, risk of the exchange rate also falls on the investor.Indian companies were allowed to issue rupee-denominated bonds in the offshore market in September last year but so far no company has been able to raise funds through this route.The idea of masala bonds was first floated by RBI in April 2015 following which the central bank issued guidelines for the same in September. Over the last four months, Indian Railway Finance Corp. (IRFC), Housing Development and Finance Corp., NTPC Ltd, Shriram Transport Finance and Dewan Housing Finance Ltd have all hawked masala bonds without success.International Finance Corp. (IFC), the investment arm of World Bank, has successfully raised Rs.11,000 crore through such bonds from the international markets. British Columbia, a province of Canada, also intends to borrow through masala bonds and invest the proceeds in India.
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