Capital Account Convertibility

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Capital Account Convertibility. Should India adopt full convertibility? Capital Account Convertibility-or a floating exchange rate-is a feature of a nation's financial regime that centers around the ability to conduct transactions of local financial assets into foreign financial assets freely and at market determined exchange rates. It is sometimes referred to as Capital Asset Liberation or CAC. CAC is mostly a guideline to changes of ownership in foreign or domestic financial assets and liabilities. Tangentially, it covers and extends the framework of the creation and liquidation of claims on, or by the rest of the world, on local asset and currency markets. Current account convertibility allows free inflows and outflows for all purposes other than for capital purposes such as investments and loans. In other words, it allows residents to make and receive trade-related payments -- receive dollars (or any other foreign currency) for export of goods and services and pay dollars for import of goods and services, make sundry remittances, access foreign currency for travel, studies abroad, medical treatment and gifts, etc. Capital account convertibility is considered to be one of the major features of a developed economy. It helps attract foreign investment. It offers foreign investors a lot of comfort as they can re-convert local currency into foreign currency anytime they want to and take their money away.

At the same time, capital account convertibility makes it easier for domestic companies to tap foreign markets. At the moment, India has current account convertibility. This means one can import and export goods or receive or make payments for services rendered. However, investments and borrowings are restricted.

But economists say that jumping into capital account convertibility game without considering the downside of the step could harm the economy. The East Asian economic crisis is cited as an example by those opposed to capital account convertibility....
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