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November 13, 2000
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SBI India Millennium deposit nets $5.5 billion

The State Bank of India has raised $5.5 billion from a recently concluded overseas deposit offer, the lead arranger said on Monday.

"The final figures have come in. The figure collected by the India Millennium Deposits is $5.5 billion," a spokeswoman at SBI Capital Markets said.

The deposit offer, aimed at expatriate Indians opened on October 21 and closed last Monday.

The spokeswoman said the deposit plan received 72,000-73,000 applications.

Bankers say the central Reserve Bank of India encouraged SBI to launch the scheme to boost foreign exchange reserves which have been falling since the rupee came under pressure from high global oil prices and a slowdown in foreign capital inflows.

India's foreign exchange reserves are down 9.39 per cent from a mid-April peak of $38.341 billion, largely reflecting the central bank's efforts to augment dollar supplies.

The rupee, convertible only on the current account, was traded at 46.74/75 per dollar in late Monday deals. It has lost nearly 7 per cent against the dollar since the start of the year.

The SBI scheme offered deposits in three currencies -- the US dollar, euro and sterling. It offered 8.5 per cent on dollar deposits, 7.85 per cent on sterling and 6.85 per cent on deposits in euro.

The IMD was the second offering by the SBI to expatriate Indians. In 1998, it launched the Resurgent India Bonds to shore up foreign capital inflows after India was hit by economic sanctions following its nuclear tests. That issue raised some $4.23 billion.

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