A key feature of the reform of the international financial architecture since the mid-1990s has been the development of international standards and codes.2 The data standards initiative, on which the IMF took the lead, broke new ground. The dissemination standards put in place as the centerpiece of this initiative continue to be among the most widely known of the international standards and codes.
1.1 The International Monetary Fund (IMF) introduced the Data Standards Initiatives following the 1994–95 international financial crises for the purpose of promoting the transparency of economic and financial data. The Data Standards Initiatives consist of three tiers:
2.1 This chapter elaborates on the data coverage, periodicity, and timeliness requirements for the additional SDDS Plus data category under the real sector. Sectoral balance sheet data for financial assets and liabilities are prescribed for dissemination to enhance understanding of financial linkages across sectors.
Recognition of the importance of data transparency—including for promoting the efficient operation of financial markets and policy accountability on the part of governments and central banks—is a remarkably recent phenomenon in the history of economic thought. The timely availability of data on international reserves and the foreign exchange operations of central banks is a case in point. As recently as 10 years ago, with relatively few exceptions, only very aggregated information typically was available, and then often only with a substantial lag. Indeed, in a number of countries, these data were treated as state secrets. Moreover, significant regional differences existed—and still do, to an important degree—in terms of views about the value of enhancing transparency.
3.1 This chapter elaborates on the data coverage, periodicity, and timeliness for the two additional Special Data Dissemination Standard Plus (SDDS Plus) data categories under the fiscal sector: general government operations (GGO) and general government total gross debt (GGD). Data for quarterly GGO provide an internationally comparable picture of the full range of government activities. Reliable and timely statistics on general government debt is a critical element in properly assessing countries’ fiscal and external sustainability.
Although the name of the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) infers that its central focus is dissemination, in its initial stages the GDDS emphasized the development of national systems in an explicit me