IMF Financial Operations 2018 provides a broad introduction to how the IMF fulfills its mission through its financial activities. It covers the financial structure and operations of the IMF and provides background detail on the financial statements. It reviews the IMF's three main activities: lending, surveillance, and technical assistance.


Financial Operations 2018

International Monetary Fund

Fourth Edition, © 2018 International Monetary Fund

First Edition 2014

Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Joint Bank-Fund Library

IMF Financial operations / Finance Department, International Monetary Fund. – Washington, D.C. : International Monetary Fund, 2016.

  • p. ; cm.

  • Includes bibliographic references.

1. International Monetary Fund. 2. International finance. 3. Financial organization and operations of the IMF. I. International Monetary Fund.

Finance Department.

HG3881.5.I58 F48 2015

ISBN: 978-1-48433-087-6 (Paper)

ISBN: 978-1-47555-185-3 (ePub)

ISBN: 978-1-48434-881-9 (Mobipocket)

ISBN: 978-1-48434-882-6 (PDF)

Disclaimer: The analysis expressed in this publication is that of the IMF staff and does not represent IMF policy or the views of the IMF, its Executive Board, or IMF management.

Recommended citation: International Monetary Fund, IMF Financial Operations (Washington, April 2018).

Please send orders to:

International Monetary Fund, Publication Services

P.O. Box 92780, Washington, DC 20090, U.S.A.

Tel.: (202) 623–7430 Fax: (202) 623–7201

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Internet: www.elibrary.imf.org



  • Preface

  • Acknowledgments

  • Abbreviations

  • 1. Overview of the IMF as a Financial Institution

    • 1.1 Role and Purposes of the IMF

    • 1.2 Evolution of the IMF’s Financial Structure

    • 1.3 Measures Taken since the Global Financial Crisis

      • 1.3.1 Borrowing

      • 1.3.2 Quotas

      • 1.3.3 Special Drawing Rights

      • 1.3.4 General Lending Framework

      • 1.3.5 Resources and Lending to Low-Income Countries

    • 1.4 The IMF’s Financial Structure and Lending Mechanisms

      • 1.4.1 Nonconcessional Financing (Chapter 2)

      • 1.4.2 Concessional Financing (Chapter 3)

      • 1.4.3 The Special Drawing Right (Chapter 4)

      • 1.4.4 Income Generation (Chapter 5)

      • 1.4.5 Financial Risk Management (Chapter 6)

    • 1.5 Information Sources on IMF Finances

      • 1.5.1 IMF Website

      • 1.5.2 Contacts in the Finance Department

    • Additional Reading

  • 2. Nonconcessional Financial Operations

    • 2.1 Financing Nonconcessional Lending Operations: Resources and Liabilities

      • 2.1.1 Quotas

      • 2.1.2 The Quota Formula

      • 2.1.3 Quota Increases under General Reviews

      • 2.1.4 Ad Hoc Quota Increases

      • 2.1.5 Recent Quota, Voice, and Governance Reforms

      • 2.1.6 Borrowing by the IMF

    • 2.2 The IMF’s Financing Mechanism

      • 2.2.1 The Financial Transactions Plan

      • 2.2.2 NAB Resource Mobilization Plan

    • 2.3 The Asset Side

      • 2.3.1 Financial Policies and Facilities: The GRA Lending Toolkit

      • 2.3.2 Credit Outstanding

      • 2.3.3 Gold Holdings

    • 2.4 The IMF’s Balance Sheet and Income Statement

      • 2.4.1 The Balance Sheet

      • 2.4.2 Operational Income

      • 2.4.3 Operational Expenses

      • 2.4.4 Administrative Expenses

      • 2.4.5 Net Income

      • 2.4.6 Valuation of Currencies

    • 2.5 Special Disbursement Account

    • 2.6 IMF Accounts in Member Countries 2.6.1 Disclosure of Financial Position with the IMF by Member Countries

    • Additional Reading

  • 3. Financial Assistance for Low-Income Countries

    • 3.1 The Evolution of Concessional Lending

    • 3.2 Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust

      • 3.2.1 PRGT Terms

      • 3.2.2 PRGT Eligibility

    • 3.3 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative

      • 3.3.1 HIPC Eligibility and Qualification Criteria

      • 3.3.2 Provision of Debt Relief

    • 3.4 Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust

    • 3.5 Financing Concessional Assistance and Debt Relief

      • 3.5.1 Financing Structure

      • 3.5.2 Framework for Concessional Lending

      • 3.5.3 Resources for Concessional Lending

      • 3.5.4 Self-Sustained PRGT

      • 3.5.5 Debt Relief Framework

      • 3.5.6 Resources for Debt Relief

    • Additional Reading

  • 4. Special Drawing Rights

    • 4.1 Background and Characteristics of the SDR

    • 4.2 Valuation of the SDR

      • 4.2.1 SDR Basket

      • 4.2.2 Current SDR Valuation Method

    • 4.3 The SDR Interest Rate

    • 4.4 Allocations and Cancellations of SDRs

    • 4.5 Operation of the SDR Department

      • 4.5.1 Participants and Prescribed Holders

      • 4.5.2 Flows of SDRs and the Central Role of the IMF

      • 4.5.3 IMF SDR Holdings

      • 4.5.4 Voluntary SDR Trading Arrangements

    • 4.6 Financial Statements of the SDR Department

    • Additional Reading

  • 5. The IMF’s Income Model

    • 5.1 Lending Income

    • 5.2 The IMF’s Income Model

      • 5.2.1 Features of the IMF Income Model

    • 5.3 Investment Income

      • 5.3.1 Subaccounts

      • 5.3.2 The Use of Investment Income

    • 5.4 Reimbursements to the General Resources Account

    • Additional Reading

  • 6. Financial Risk Management

    • 6.1 Financial Risk: Sources and Mitigation Framework

      • 6.1.1 Credit Risks

      • 6.1.2 Liquidity Risks

      • 6.1.3 Income Risk

    • 6.2 Overdue Financial Obligations

      • 6.2.1 Overview

      • 6.2.2 Cooperative Strategy on Overdue Financial Obligations

      • 6.2.3 Arrears Clearance Modalities

      • 6.2.4 Special Charges

    • 6.3 Safeguards Assessments of Central Banks

      • 6.3.1 History and Objectives

      • 6.3.2 Conceptual Framework: Governance and Controls

      • 6.3.3 Modalities

      • 6.3.4 Safeguard Risks beyond Central Banks

    • 6.4 Audit Framework

    • 6.5 Financial Reporting and Risk Disclosure

    • Additional Reading

  • Appendix 1 IMF Membership: Quotas and Allocations of SDRs

  • Appendix 2 Special Voting Majorities for Selected Financial Decisions

  • Appendix 3 Administered Accounts

  • Appendix 4 Disclosure of Financial Position with the IMF in the Balance Sheet of a Member’s Central Bank

  • Glossary

  • Index

  • Figures

  • 1.1 Financial Structure of the IMF

  • 2.1 The Size of the IMF

  • 2.2 The IMF’s Lending Capacity

  • 2.3 IMF Lending Mechanism: An Exchange of Assets

  • 2.4 Member Positions in the General Resources Account

  • 2.5 Outstanding IMF Credit by Facility, 1990–2018

  • 2.6 Median and Interquartile Range for Annual Average Access Under Standby and Extended Arrangements

  • 2.7 Distribution of Average Annual Access under Stand-By and Extended Arrangements, 1990–2017

  • 3.1 PRGT-Eligible Countries: GRA Purchases and Concessional Loan Disbursements, 1987–2017

  • 3.2 Outstanding Concessional Credit by Facility, 1977–2017

  • 3.3 IMF Debt Relief to Low-Income Countries, 1998–2017

  • 3.4 Concessional Financing Framework

  • 3.5 Flow of Funds in the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust

  • 3.6 Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust Reserve Account Coverage, 1988–2017

  • 3.7 Debt Relief Framework

  • 3.8 Financial Structure of the Poverty Reduction and Growth–Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Trust

  • 4.1 Actual Currency Weights in the SDR Basket, 2000–18

  • 4.2 Interest Rates on the SDR and Its Financial Instrument Components, 2005–18

  • 4.3 SDR Allocations: General and Special

  • 4.4 Circulation of Special Drawing Rights

  • 4.5 Selected SDR Transactions, 2007–17

  • 4.6 IMF SDR Holdings, 2008–18

  • 4.7 SDR Sales: Participation by Market Makers by Region, September 1, 2009–December 31, 2017

  • 5.1 Snapshot of the IMF Income Statement

  • 5.2 Weekly Interest Rates and Margins, 2004–18

  • 5.3 The IMF’s Income Model

  • 5.4 Asset Size of the Investment Account

  • 5.5 Endowment Subaccount: Target Allocation

  • 5.6 Earnings of the Investment Account

  • 6.1 Forward Commitment Capacity: How the IMF Augments Quota Resources through Borrowing, March 1996–December 2017

  • 6.2 Overdue Financial Obligations to the IMF, 1980–2017

  • 6.3 IMF Credit Outstanding and Overdue Obligations, 1984–2017

  • 6.4 Safeguards Analytical Framework and Governance Focus

  • 6.5 Safeguards Assessments by Region

  • Tables

  • 2.1 General Reviews of Quotas

  • 2.2 Agreed Changes in IMF Quotas

  • 2.3 Countries Eligible for the Ad Hoc Quota Increases Agreed under the 2008 Quota and Voice Reforms

  • 2.4 General and New Arrangements to Borrow

  • 2.5 Financial Terms under IMF General Resources Account Credit

  • 2.6 Balance Sheet of the General Department

  • 2.7 Income Statement of the General Department

  • 3.1 Concessional Lending Facilities

  • 3.2 Access Limits and Norms for Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust Facility

  • 3.3 Countries Eligible for the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust and the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative

  • 3.4 HIPC Thresholds for the Present Value of External Debt

  • 3.5 Implementation of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative

  • 3.6 PRG-HIPC Financing Requirements and Sources

  • 3.7 Cumulative Commitments of Lenders to the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust

  • 3.8 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries and Poverty Reduction and Growth–HIPC Trust Resources

  • 3.9 PCDR/CCR Trust Debt Relief and Sources of Financing

  • 4.1 Currency Weights in the SDR Basket

  • 4.2 Balance Sheet of the SDR Department

  • 4.3 Income Statement of the SDR Department

  • 5.1 Investment Account Subaccounts

  • 5.2 Eligible Asset Classes in the Fixed-Income Subaccount

  • 6.1 Level of Precautionary Balances in the General Resources Account

  • 6.2 The IMF’s Liquidity, 2011–18

  • 6.3 History of Protracted Arrears to the IMF

  • 6.4 Arrears to the IMF of Countries with Obligations Overdue by Six Months or More by Type and Duration

  • Boxes

  • 1.1 The Decision-Making Structure of the IMF

  • 2.1 The General Department’s Balance Sheet Snapshot

  • 2.2 Quota Payment Procedures

  • 2.3 The Quota Formula

  • 2.4 The Reserve Tranche Position

  • 2.5 The Evolution of Conditionality

  • 2.6 Key Gold Transactions

  • 3.1 Concessional Lending Timeline

  • 3.2 Subsidization of Emergency Assistance and Its Financing

  • 3.3 Exogenous Shocks Facility

  • 3.4 Policy Support Instrument

  • 3.5 Interest Rate Regime for Concessional Facilities

  • 3.6 Poverty Reduction Strategies

  • 3.7 Debt Relief Timeline

  • 3.8 The HIPC Sunset Clause

  • 3.9 Topping Up HIPC Assistance

  • 3.10 Liberia’s Debt Relief

  • 3.11 The Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative

  • 3.12 Trust Assets: Investments in Support of Concessional Financing

  • 3.13 The 2009 Fundraising Exercise

  • 3.14 Reimbursement of Administrative Expenses Associated with Concessional Lending Operations

  • 3.15 Making the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust Sustainable

  • 4.1 Creation of the SDR

  • 4.2 Broad Principles Guiding SDR Valuation Decisions

  • 4.3 Criteria for the Composition of the SDR Basket

  • 4.4 Currency Amounts and Actual Daily Weights

  • 4.5 SDR Interest Rate Calculation

  • 4.6 Borrowing SDRs for Payment of the Reserve Asset Portion of a Quota Increase

  • 4.7 Voluntary Trading Arrangements of the Special Drawing Rights

  • 4.8 Timeline to Buy or Sell SDRs under the Voluntary Trading Arrangements

  • 4.9 Designation Mechanism

  • 5.1 Setting the Margin for the Basic Rate of Charge

  • 5.2 Evolution of Surcharges

  • 5.3 Commitment Fees

  • 5.4 Committee of Eminent Persons’ Proposal for Increasing IMF Income

  • 6.1 Financial Risk Management in the IMF

  • 6.2 The IMF’s Preferred Creditor Status

  • 6.3 The Burden-Sharing Mechanism: Capacity and Implications for Arrears

  • 6.4 Composition of the IMF’s Precautionary Balances

  • 6.5 Financial Reporting of Credit Losses under International Financial Reporting Standards

  • 6.6 The Forward Commitment Capacity

  • 6.7 Overdue Financial Obligations to the IMF

  • 6.8 Overdue Financial Obligations to the General Department and the SDR Department: Timetable of Remedial Measures

  • 6.9 Overdue Financial Obligations to the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust: Timetable of Remedial Measures

  • 6.10 Policy of De-escalation of Remedial Measures

  • 6.11 The IMF’s Safeguards Assessments Policy

  • 6.12 Misreporting Framework

  • 6.13 The IMF’s External Audit Arrangements


The International Monetary Fund was conceived in July 1944, at a United Nations conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States. The 44 participating governments sought to build a framework for economic cooperation that would forestall any repetition of the disastrous policies, including competitive devaluations, that contributed to the Great Depression of the 1930s and, ultimately, to World War II.

The IMF now has 189 member countries and has evolved over time as the global economy has expanded, become more integrated, and endured both boom and bust. But the IMF’s mission has remained the same: to ensure the stability of the international monetary system—the system of exchange rates and international payments that enables countries (and their citizens) to transact with one another and that is essential for promoting sustainable economic growth, increasing living standards, and reducing poverty.

This publication provides a broad introduction to how the IMF fulfills this mission through its financial activities. It covers the financial structure and operations of the IMF and also provides background detail of the financial statements for the IMF’s activities during the most recent financial year. Making such financial information publicly available is part of the IMF’s overarching commitment to transparency. Transparency in economic policy and the availability of reliable data on economic and financial developments is critical for sound decision-making and for the smooth functioning of the international economy. Toward that end, this publication also contains numerous links to other publicly available information on IMF finances, including on the IMF’s website, www.imf.org.

Chapter 1 reviews the evolution of the IMF’s financial structure and operations, its role and functions, its governance structure, and the nature of recent reforms. Chapters 2 and 3 explain how the IMF provides lending to member countries experiencing actual or potential balance of payments problems, meaning that the country cannot find sufficient financing on affordable terms to meet its net international payments (for example, for imports or external debt redemptions). This financial assistance enables countries to rebuild their international reserves, stabilize their currencies, continue paying for imports, and restore conditions for strong economic growth, while undertaking policies to correct underlying problems. Chapter 2 reviews IMF lending made at market rates (that is, nonconcessional lending facilities), and Chapter 3 describes the various concessional facilities by which the IMF lends to low-income member countries at favorable rates (currently, a zero interest rate).

Chapter 4 reviews the Special Drawing Right (SDR); Chapter 5 outlines the sources of income for the IMF; and Chapter 6 outlines the institution’s approach to financial risk management. The publication also includes a list of common abbreviations, a glossary, and an index.

How to Use This Document

This publication includes descriptions of the IMF’s financial organization, its policies and lending arrangements, and details on its financial statements. These are meant only to explain and synthesize official IMF documents, records, and agreements. For authoritative versions of these materials, readers should directly consult the official institutional records, which are available at www.imf.org/external/fn.htm.1

Digital technology and the internet make it easier to create and distribute this type of compendium in multiple formats and also to keep it up to date. This publication will be available in multiple digital and print formats, including print copies, PDF files available for online viewing and print-on-demand, and formats for eReaders (eBook, iBook, Mobi, Kindle, Nook, and more).2 We will update individual chapters more regularly if there are significant changes to IMF structures or lending facilities or if we uncover errors in the published edition. These updates will be available online and will note the date of the last revision. The version of record will be the latest electronic version published on the IMF’s website and eLibrary.

We invite your feedback and comments. This publication is meant to answer your questions about the IMF. If some of your questions remain unanswered, please contact us at publicaffairs@imf.org.

Andrew Tweedie

Director, Finance Department


This publication was prepared by staff members of the Finance Department under the direction of Chris Geiregat. Christine Kadama served as project manager and also provided outstanding research and information technology support. From the IMF Communications Department, Linda Grifn Kean led the editorial effort and managed production of this publication, with copyediting support from Linda Long and Lucy Morales. In addition, valuable contributions were provided by Mariel Acosta, Maria Albino-War, Dannah Al-Jarbou, Ali Al-Sadiq, Alexander Attie, Rina Bhattacharya, Veerayudh Bunsoong, Lawrence Chan, Henrique Chociay, Simon Cooney, Claudio De Luca, Sonja Davidovic, Khawaja Farhan, Gilda Fernandez, Emer Fleming, Joanna Grochalska, Courage Gumbanjera, Ivetta Hakobyan, Jean-Jacques Hallaert, Joseph Hanna, Mohammad Hasnain, Heikki Hatanpaa, Janne Hukka, Zurab Javakhishvili, Joao Jatene, Kenji Kitano, Jane Mburu, Diviesh Nana, Carina Nachnani, Amadou Ndiaye, Mwanza Nkusu, Victoria Nichipurenko, Breno Oliveira, Ceyda Oner, Ezgi Ozturk, Jean Guillaume Poulain, Sergio Rodriguez-Apolinar, Izabela Rutkowska, Randa Sab, Rachel Saperstein, Yan Sun-Wang, Riaan van Greuning, Michael Vera, Wellian Wiranto, Barry Yuen, and Vera Zolotarskaya from the Finance Department. Comments and suggestions were also received from the Legal Department’s Ioana Luca, Mark Racic, Anjum Rosha, and Jonathan Swanepoel.

IMF Financial Operations (now in its fourth edition) provides a summary of financial operations and policies of the International Monetary Fund. Many descriptions have been simplified in a reader-friendly manner and should not be treated as authoritative statements on IMF policies. The views expressed in this publication are those of IMF staff and do not necessarily represent the views of the Executive Board or their national authorities.



African Development Fund


Bank for International Settlements


Balance of Payments Manual, sixth edition


Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust


External Audit Committee


Extended Credit Facility


Economic Development Document


Extended Fund Facility


Emergency Natural Disaster Assistance


Emergency Post Conflict Assistance


Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility


Exogenous Shocks Facility


Forward Commitment Capacity


Flexible Credit Line


Financial Transactions Plan


Financial Year


General Arrangements to Borrow


Group of Twenty


Gross Domestic Product


General Loan Account


General Resources Account


General Subsidy Account


High Access Component


High Access Precautionary Arrangement


Heavily Indebted Poor Countries


Investment Account


International Development Association


International Financial Institution


International Financial Reporting Standards


International Financial Statistics


International Monetary Fund


International Monetary and Financial Committee


Low-Income Country


Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative


New Arrangements to Borrow


Net Present Value


Office of Budget and Planning


Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development


Office of Internal Audit and Inspection


Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries


Post-Catastrophe Debt Relief


Policy Coordination Instrument


Precautionary and Liquidity Line


Purchasing Power Parity


Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility


Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust


Poverty Reduction Strategy


Policy Support Instrument


Quantitative Performance Criteria


Reserve Account


Rapid Access Component


Rights Accumulation Program


Rapid Credit Facility


Real Estate Investment Trust


Rapid Financing Instrument


Resource Mobilization Plan


Structural Adjustment Facility


Stand-By Arrangement


Special Contingent Account


Standby Credit Facility


Special Disbursement Account


Special Drawing Right


Special Loan Account


Staff Monitored Program


Special Subsidy Account


Time-Based Repurchase Expectation Policy


Trust Fund


Trade Integration Mechanism


Technical Memorandum of Understanding


Upper Credit Tranche


Voluntary Trading Arrangements

The following symbols have been used throughout this publication:

. . . to indicate that data are not available

— to indicate that the figure is zero or less than half the final digit shown, or that the item does not exist

– between years or months (for example, 2012–13 or January–June) to indicate the years or months covered, including the beginning and ending years or months

/ between years (for example, 2012/13) to indicate a fiscal or financial year

“Billion” means a thousand million; “trillion” means a thousand billion.

“Basis points” refer to hundredths of 1 percentage point (for example, 25 basis points are equivalent to ¼ of 1 percentage point).

FY refers to the IMF’s financial year (May 1–April 30) unless otherwise noted.

“n.a.” means “not applicable.”

Minor discrepancies between sums of constituent figures and totals are due to rounding.

As used in this publication, the term “country” does not in all cases refer to a territorial entity that is a state as understood by international law and practice. As used here, the term also covers some territorial entities that are not states but for which statistical data are maintained on a separate and independent basis.