Annual Report on Exchange Arrangements and Exchange Restrictions, 2007
Chapter

AUSTRIA

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
Published Date:
October 2007
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(Position as of January 31, 2007)

Status under IMF Articles of Agreement
Article VIIIDate of acceptance: August 1, 1962.
Exchange Measures
Restrictions and/or multiple currency practicesNo restrictions as reported in the latest staff report as of December 31, 2006.
International security restrictions
In accordance with IMF Executive Board Decision No. 144-(52/51)In accordance with EU regulations and the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, certain restrictions are maintained with respect to certain individuals associated with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the former government of Iraq, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Liberia, Myanmar, Sudan, the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe. Financing of and financial assistance related to military activities in Somalia are prohibited. Restrictions also apply on transfers with respect to the Taliban and individuals and organizations associated with terrorism.
Other security restrictionsYes.
References to legal instruments and hyperlinksn.a.
Exchange Arrangement
CurrencyThe currency of Austria is the euro.
Exchange rate structureUnitary.
Classification
Independently floatingAustria participates in a currency union with 12 other members of the EMU and has no separate legal tender. Effective January 1, 2007, the exchange arrangement of the EMU countries has been reclassified to the category independently floating from the category exchange arrangement with no separate legal tender. The new classification is based on the behavior of the common currency, whereas the previous classification was based on the lack of a separate legal tender. The new classification thus reflects only a definitional change, and is not based on a judgment that there has been a substantive change in the exchange regime or other policies of the currency union or its members.
Exchange taxNo.
Exchange subsidyNo.
Forward exchange marketForward exchange transactions are permitted.
References to legal instruments and hyperlinksn.a.
Arrangements for Payments and Receipts
Prescription of currency requirementsSettlements with all countries may be made either in foreign currencies or through free euro accounts.
Payments arrangements
Bilateral payments arrangements
OperativeThere are no bilateral payments agreements; however, several bilateral agreements exist for the promotion and protection of investments, which include provisions on transfers among the signatories.
Administration of controlExchange transactions are effected through Austrian banks authorized by the Financial Market Authority (FMA).
Payments arrearsNo.
Controls on trade in gold (coins and/or bullion)No.
Controls on exports and imports of banknotesNo.
References to legal instruments and hyperlinksn.a.
Resident Accounts
Foreign exchange accounts permittedYes.
Held domesticallyYes.
Held abroadControls apply to deposits not denominated in euros by a private pension fund that would cause its total assets not denominated in euros to exceed 30% of its total assets. If the exchange risk is eliminated by hedging transactions, these investments may be counted as euro-denominated investments.
Accounts in domestic currency held abroadYes.
Accounts in domestic currency convertible into foreign currencyYes.
References to legal instruments and hyperlinksn.a.
Nonresident Accounts
Foreign exchange accounts permittedYes.
Domestic currency accountsYes.
Convertible into foreign currencyYes.
Blocked accountsAccounts of citizens of certain countries affected by EU regulations and accounts that are blocked by virtue of UN sanctions are treated differently. In the former case, regulations are addressed directly to the credit institutions of the member states, which are then responsible for taking the requisite action. This procedure applies to accounts belonging to certain citizens of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the previous government of Iraq, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Liberia, Myanmar, Sudan, and Zimbabwe; individuals linked to the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; the Taliban; and individuals and organizations associated with terrorism. In the latter case, the Austrian National Bank issues official announcements (regulations) to make provisions of the UN sanctions effective under Austrian law. These official announcements are addressed to the Austrian credit institutions. This procedure applies to accounts belonging to terrorists with a residence in the EU.
References to legal instruments and hyperlinksn.a.
Imports and Import Payments
Foreign exchange budgetNo.
Financing requirements for importsNo.
Documentation requirements for release of foreign exchange for importsNo.
Import licenses and other nontariff measuresExport and import licenses must be issued by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs for industrial products and by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry for agricultural products. As a member of the EU, Austria applies all import regulations based on a common commercial policy, i.e., import restrictions for industrial products in the textile and clothing sectors and statistical surveillance for products falling under the scope of the ECSC treaty. There are also regulations based on current EU law with regard to China for imports of some consumer products.
Positive listYes.
Licenses with quotasYes.
Import taxes and/or tariffsAustria applies the Common Import Regime of the EU.
State import monopolyNo.
References to legal instruments and hyperlinksn.a.
Exports and Export Proceeds
Repatriation requirementsNo.
Financing requirementsNo.
Documentation requirementsNo.
Export licensesLicenses for exports must be obtained from the relevant ministry or, at the time of clearance, from the customs authorities. For most exports, licenses are not required. Export licenses are issued with due consideration for the provisions of relevant EU trade agreements, the fulfillment of quotas established in accordance with such agreements, and the needs of the Austrian economy.
Without quotasYes.
With quotasYes.
Export taxesNo.
References to legal instruments and hyperlinksn.a.
Payments for Invisible Transactions and Current Transfers
Controls on these transfersNo.
References to legal instruments and hyperlinksn.a.
Proceeds from Invisible Transactions and Current Transfers
Repatriation requirementsNo.
Restrictions on use of fundsNo.
References to legal instruments and hyperlinksn.a.
Capital Transactions
Controls on capital transactionsYes.
Repatriation requirementsNo.
Controls on capital and money market instrumentsIn some cases, there are reporting requirements to the Austrian National Bank.
On capital market securities
Shares or other securities of a participating nature
Purchase abroad by residentsControls apply to assets not denominated in euros by a private pension fund that would cause its total assets not denominated in euros to exceed 30% of its total assets. If the exchange risk is eliminated by hedging transactions, these investments may be counted as euro-denominated investments.
Bonds or other debt securities
Purchase abroad by residentsControls apply to assets not denominated in euros by a private pension fund that would cause its total assets not denominated in euros to exceed 30% of its total assets. If the exchange risk is eliminated by hedging transactions, these investments may be counted as euro-denominated investments.
On money market instruments
Purchase abroad by residentsControls apply to assets not denominated in euros by a private pension fund that would cause its total assets not denominated in euros to exceed 30% of its total assets. If the exchange risk is eliminated by hedging transactions, these investments may be counted as euro-denominated investments.
On collective investment securities
Purchase abroad by residentsControls apply to the purchase (1) by an insurance company of collective investment securities issued by non-EU residents if these assets are to form part of its technical provisions (other than those for unit-linked life insurance contracts) and (2) of collective investment securities not denominated in euros by a private pension fund that would cause its total assets not denominated in euros to exceed 30% of its total assets.
Controls on derivatives and other instruments
Purchase abroad by residentsControls apply to the purchase of derivatives and other instruments and claims not denominated in euros by a private pension fund that would cause its total assets not denominated in euros to exceed 30% of its total assets. If the exchange risk is eliminated by hedging transactions, these investments may be attributed to the euro-denominated investments.
Controls on credit operations
Financial credits
By residents to nonresidentsControls apply to loans granted (1) to nonresidents, or for which the designated collateral is located abroad if the asset in question is to form part of the guarantee funds of a local branch of a non-EU insurance company established in Austria; (2) to residents outside the EU or for which the designated collateral is located outside the EU, if the asset in question is to form part of the cover of the prescribed solvency margin for the local branch of a non-EU insurance company established in Austria or is to form part of the cover of technical provisions of resident insurance companies; and (3) in currencies other than euros by a private pension fund that would cause its total assets not denominated in euros to exceed 30% of its total assets.
Controls on direct investment
Inward direct investmentCertain controls apply for investments by nonresidents and Austrian residents who are not nationals of one of the countries of the EEA in the auditing, accounting, engineering, architectural, and legal professions; the transport and electric power generation sectors; and the acquisition of ships.
Controls on liquidation of direct investmentNo.
Controls on real estate transactions
Purchase abroad by residentsControls apply to the acquisition of real estate (1) abroad if the asset in question is to form part of the guarantee funds of a local branch of a non-EU insurance company established in Austria; (2) outside the EU if the asset in question is to form part of the cover of the prescribed solvency margin for the local branch of a non-EU insurance company established in Austria or is to form part of the cover of technical provisions of resident insurance companies; and (3) outside Austria by a private pension fund, exceeding 30% of its total assets.
Purchase locally by nonresidentsThe acquisition of real estate is subject to approval by local authorities.
Controls on personal capital transactionsNo.
References to legal instruments and hyperlinksn.a.
Provisions Specific to the Financial Sector
Provisions specific to commercial banks and other credit institutions
Differential treatment of deposit accounts in foreign exchange
Reserve requirementsReserve requirements apply only to deposits held in euros.
Liquid asset requirementsLiquid asset requirements apply only to deposits held in euros.
Open foreign exchange position limitsThe net amount of an open foreign exchange position must not exceed 30% of own funds at the end of any business day; the total sum of all open positions must not exceed 50% of own funds. The euro is not considered a foreign currency.
Provisions specific to institutional investors
Insurance companies
Limits (max.) on securities issued by nonresidentsControls apply to the purchase by an insurance company of collective investment securities issued by non-EU residents if these assets are to form part of its technical provisions (other than those for unit-linked life insurance contracts).
Limits (max.) on investment portfolio held abroadControls apply to (1) the acquisition of real estate outside the EU if the asset in question is to form part of the cover of the prescribed solvency margin for the local branch of a non-EU insurance company established in Austria or is to form part of the cover of technical provisions of resident insurance companies; (2) the acquisition of real estate abroad if the asset in question is to form part of the guarantee funds of a local branch of a non-EU insurance company established in Austria; (3) loans granted to nonresidents, or for which the designated collateral is located abroad, if the asset in question is to form part of the guarantee funds of a local branch of a non-EU insurance company established in Austria; and (4) loans to residents outside the EU or for which the designated collateral is located outside the EU if the asset in question is to form part of the cover of the prescribed solvency margin for the local branch of a non-EU insurance company established in Austria or is to form part of the cover of technical provisions of resident insurance companies.
Limits (min.) on investment portfolio held locallyYes.
Currency-matching regulations on assets/liabilities compositionYes.
Pension fundsThe management board of the Pensionskasse ensures that the investment is performed by persons who are professionally qualified and who have the relevant professional experience, in particular in the areas of portfolio management and risk management, as well as asset liability management, and that appropriate technical resources are available for risk management. The investment must be effected within prudent limits.
The FMA determines by regulation minimum standards. In particular, it specifies minimum standards pertaining to risk management, diversification of risk, reduction of risk, asset liability management, and type and content of the statements submitted by the Pensionskasse substantiating that its risk management complies with said minimum standards and the time limit within which said substantiation shall be submitted. The FMA may order that substantiation be provided at regular intervals.
Limits (max.) on securities issued by nonresidentsControls apply to assets not denominated in euros by a private pension fund that would cause its total assets not denominated in euros to exceed 30% of its total assets. If the exchange risk is eliminated by hedging transactions, these investments may be counted as euro-denominated investments.
Limits (max.) on investment portfolio held abroadControls apply to assets not denominated in euros by a private pension fund that would cause its total assets not denominated in euros to exceed 30% of its total assets. If the exchange risk is eliminated by hedging transactions, these investments may be counted as euro-denominated investments.
Limits (min.) on investment portfolio held locallyn.a.
Currency-matching regulations on assets/liabilities compositionn.a.
Investment firms and collective investment fundsn.a.
References to legal instruments and hyperlinksn.a.
Changes during 2006
No significant changes occurred in the exchange and trade system.
Changes during 2007
Exchange arrangementJanuary 1. The exchange arrangement of the EMU countries was reclassified to the category independently floating from the category exchange arrangement with no separate legal tender. The new classification reflects only a definitional change.

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