New Delhi: India's oil import bill leaped 40 percent to a record USD 140 billion in 2011-12 as high oil prices shaved off much of the nation's GDP growth rate, Oil
Minister S Jaipal Reddy said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the 5th OPEC International Seminar in Vienna, Reddy said it was "estimated that a sustained USD 10 increase in oil prices lead to a 1.5 percent reduction in the GDP of developing countries".

"We have seen evidence of this in our own country: India's GDP grew at 6.9 percent during the last financial year (2011-12) down from the 8 percent plus growth rate experienced in the past few years," he said.

Reddy, whose speech copy was released by his office here, said between the 2010-11 and 2011-12, the world's fourth largest oil importer saw its average cost of imported crude oil rising by USD 27 per barrel, "making India's oil import bill rise from USD 100 billion to USD 140 billion dollars".

"Higher international oil prices lead to domestic inflation, increased input costs, an increase in the budget deficit which invariably drives up interest rates and slows down the economic growth," he said.

Also, net oil importing countries like India experience deterioration in their balance of payments, putting downward pressure on exchange rates.

"As a result, imports become more expensive and exports less valuable, leading to a drop in real national income," he said. "There could not be a more direct cause and effect relation than high oil prices retarding economic growth of oil importing countries".


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