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Quotas: Basic building blocks of the IMF

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Published Date:
January 2002
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The IMF is a financial cooperative, in some ways like a credit union. On joining, each member country pays in a subscription equal to its quota (see the box below).

A country’s quota is broadly determined by its economic position relative to other members and takes into account members’ GDP, current account transactions, and official reserves.

The combined capital subscriptions of the IMF’s members form a pool of resources, which the IMF uses to help countries experiencing temporary financial difficulties. An adequate level of resources allows the IMF to provide balance of payments financing to support members implementing economic and financial reform programs.

What are quotas?

A member’s quota defines the basis of its relationship with the IMF.

Subscription: A member’s IMF subscription is equivalent to its quota. A member must pay its subscription in full: up to 25 percent in the form of international reserve assets specified by the IMF (SDRs or widely accepted foreign reserve currencies, namely U.S. dollars, euros, Japanese yen, or pounds sterling) and the rest in its own currency.

Voting power: Each IMF member has 250 basic votes plus 1 additional vote for each SDR 100,000 of quota. Thus, the quota defines a member’s voting power in the IMF.

Access to financing: The amount of financing a member can obtain from the IMF (access limits) is based in part on its quota.

Allocation of SDRs: Members’ shares in SDR allocations are set in proportion to their quotas.

At regular intervals of not more than five years, the IMF’s Executive Board reviews members’ quotas and decides—in light of developments in the global economy and changes in members’ economic positions relative to other members—whether to propose an increase of their quotas to the Board of Governors. Four of the general reviews concluded that no increase was needed.

A member may also request an adjustment of its own quota at any time. The most recent such request, by China following its resumption of sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997, resulted in an increase of China’s quota in 2001 from SDR 4,687.2 million to SDR 6,369.2 million.

In 1998, the IMF’s Board of Governors, at the completion of the Eleventh General Review of Quotas, approved an increase of total IMF members’ quotas by 45 percent, from SDR 146 billion (about $200 billion at the time) to the current SDR 213 billion (about $282 billion). Its decision was based on the expansion of the world economy since quotas were last increased in 1990; the scale of potential payments imbalances; the rapid globalization and liberalization of trade and payments, including the capital account; and the IMF’s current and prospective liquidity needs and the characteristics of IMF financing arrangements.

Developments

The Twelfth General Review of Quotas formally began in December 2001 and is currently under way. As part of this process, the IMF Executive Board held a seminar in February 2002 on conceptual issues involved in assessing the adequacy of the IMF’s resource base. The seminar provided an opportunity for a preliminary exchange of views on the implications of developments in the world economy and the evolving role of the IMF for the institution’s resource base. A follow-up staff paper will take into account these views and quantify the possible size of the IMF’s resources under various scenarios.

The IMF Executive Board has also been conducting a comprehensive review of the formulas used by the IMF to help determine quotas of individual members, with a view to simplifying them and updating them to reflect developments in the world economy, including the growing role of financial markets. The Board discussed IMF staff papers on the quota formulas in October 2001 and June 2002. Earlier, at the Board’s request, an independent panel of experts from outside the IMF also examined the quota formulas and made recommendations. The Board is now awaiting the outcome of additional analysis by the IMF staff.

After achieving independence in May 2002, East Timor became the IMF’s 184th member country on July 23, 2002, with a quota of SDR 8.2 million.

IMF quotas(million SDRs)
MemberAugust 15, 2002
Afghanistan, Islamic State of120.4
Albania48.7
Algeria1,254.7
Angola286.3
Antigua and Barbuda13.5
Argentina2,117.1
Armenia92.0
Australia3,236.4
Austria1,872.3
Azerbaijan160.9
Bahamas, The130.3
Bahrain135.0
Bangladesh533.3
Barbados67.5
Belarus386.4
Belgium4,605.2
Belize18.8
Benin61.9
Bhutan6.3
Bolivia171.5
Bosnia and Herzegovina169.1
Botswana63.0
Brazil3,036.1
Brunei Darussalam150.0
Bulgaria640.2
Burkina Faso60.2
Burundi77.0
Cambodia87.5
Cameroon185.7
Canada6,369.2
Cape Verde9.6
Central African Rep.55.7
Chad56.0
Chile856.1
China6,369.2
Colombia774.0
Comoros8.9
Congo, Dem. Rep. of the533.0
Congo, Republic of84.6
Costa Rica164.1
Cote d’Ivoire325.2
Croatia365.1
Cyprus139.6
Czech Republic819.3
Denmark1,642.8
Djibouti15.9
Dominica8.2
Dominican Republic218.9
East Timor18.2
Ecuador302.3
Egypt943.7
El Salvador171.3
Equatorial Guinea32.6
Eritrea15.9
Estonia65.2
Ethiopia133.7
Fiji70.3
Finland1,263.8
France10,738.5
Gabon154.3
Gambia, The31.1
Georgia150.3
Germany13,008.2
Ghana369.0
Greece823.0
Grenada11.7
Guatemala210.2
Guinea107.1
Guinea-Bissau14.2
Guyana90.9
Haiti60.7
Honduras129.5
Hungary1,038.4
Iceland117.6
India4,158.2
Indonesia2,079.3
Iran, Islamic Rep. of1,497.2
Iraq504.0
Ireland838.4
Israel928.2
Italy7,055.5
Jamaica273.5
Japan13,312.8
Jordan170.5
Kazakhstan365.7
Kenya271.4
Kiribati5.6
Korea1,633.6
Kuwait1,381.1
Kyrgyz Rep.88.8
Lao People’s Dem. Rep..52.9
Latvia126.8
Lebanon203.0
Lesotho34.9
Liberia71.3
Libya1,123.7
Lithuania144.2
Luxembourg279.1
Macedonia, FYR68.9
Madagascar122.2
Malawi69.4
Malaysia1,486.6
Maldives8.2
Mali93.3
Malta102.0
Marshall Islands3.5
Mauritania64.4
Mauritius101.6
Mexico2,585.8
Micronesia, Fed. States of5.1
Moldova123.2
Mongolia51.1
Morocco588.2
Mozambique113.6
Myanmar258.4
Namibia136.5
Nepal71.3
Netherlands5,162.4
New Zealand894.6
Nicaragua130.0
Niger65.8
Nigeria1,753.2
Norway1,671.7
Oman194.0
Pakistan1,033.7
Palau3.1
Panama206.6
Papua New Guinea131.6
Paraguay99.9
Peru638.4
Philippines879.9
Poland1,369.0
Portugal867.4
Qatar263.8
Romania1,030.2
Russia5,945.4
Rwanda80.1
St. Kitts and Nevis8.9
St. Lucia15.3
St. Vincent and the Grenadines8.3
Samoa11.6
San Marino17.0
Sao Tome and Principe7.4
Saudi Arabia6,985.5
Senegal161.8
Seychelles8.8
Sierra Leone103.7
Singapore862.5
Slovak Republic357.5
Slovenia231.7
Solomon Islands10.4
Somalia44.2
South Africa1,868.5
Spain3,048.9
Sri Lanka413.4
Sudan169.7
Suriname92.1
Swaziland50.7
Sweden2,395.5
Switzerland3,458.5
Syrian Arab Rep.293.6
Tajikistan87.0
Tanzania198.9
Thailand1,081.9
Togo73.4
Tonga6.9
Trinidad and Tobago335.6
Tunisia286.5
Turkey964.0
Turkmenistan75.2
Uganda180.5
Ukraine1,372.0
United Arab Emirates611.7
United Kingdom10,738.5
United States37,149.3
Uruguay306.5
Uzbekistan275.6
Vanuatu17.0
Venezuela2,659.1
Vietnam329.1
Yemen, Rep. of243.5
Yugoslavia, Fed. Rep. of467.7
Zambia489.1
Zimbabwe353.4
Total212,666.1

On May 29, 2002, the IMF’s Board of Governors approved East Timor’s application for membership in the IMF. The East Timorese authorities signed the Articles of Agreement on July 23, 2002, making membership effective.

Data: IMF Treasurer’s Department

On May 29, 2002, the IMF’s Board of Governors approved East Timor’s application for membership in the IMF. The East Timorese authorities signed the Articles of Agreement on July 23, 2002, making membership effective.

Data: IMF Treasurer’s Department

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