Appendix III. Guidelines for Establishing the National Summary Data Page

International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
July 2007
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1. In establishing the national summary data page (NSDP) on their national websites to disseminate data prescribed by the SDDS, subscribers must adhere to the standard format established by the IMF staff for the NSDP. This is to facilitate monitoring of subscribers’ observance of the SDDS. This appendix provides guidelines for formatting the NSDP.


2. The “title” section at the top of the NSDP should include the following information:

  • An indication of the website’s relationship with the DSBB. Use of the following standard text is recommended: “The data shown on this page correspond to the data described in the International Monetary Fund’s Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB). For a fuller explanation of the DSBB and the statistical standards to which [subscriber’s name] has committed, please click on the DSBB home page.”

  • The date of last update of the NSDP.

  • An indication of whether the data shown on the NSDP are seasonally adjusted. Countries could use a statement such as “Unless otherwise indicated, the data are not seasonally adjusted.”

  • If the national convention differs from the norm of using commas to indicate units of thousands and dots to indicate decimal points, a brief description of the national convention used for the data shown on the NSDP.

3. Each subscriber may include the following on the title section:

  • The country flag at the top of the page.

  • The country name.

  • A central contact for the NSDP.

The “Button Bar”

4. A row of hyperlinks (a “button bar”) should appear before the list of individual SDDS data categories. It should hyperlink “buttons” for the four sectors of the DSBB and for population data. By clicking on one of these buttons, users will be able to move quickly to the relevant data categories without having to scroll down the whole list. Subscribers should include this button bar on their NSDP.

Format for Data Presentation

5. The NSDP template shows eight columns (five required and three optional; additional columns could be added as explained later):

  • The first column identifies the “SDDS data categories and components” as described on the DSBB (the “title” column).

  • The second column shows the “unit description.”

  • The third column shows the “reference period for the latest data” (or “date of the latest observation”) and is also used to indicate the periodicity of the series. Reference periods must follow the format of reference periods indicated in the advance release calendar (ARC).

  • The next two columns show data observations. Two data observations are required: the latest observation (“latest data”) and latest observation minus 1 (that is, the latest data and the “data for the previous reference period”).

  • The last three columns are optional. These could be used to show, among other things, more data observations; growth rates or other transformations; data from the same period in the previous year; a hyperlink to additional webpages containing detailed information or time series, or a hyper-link back to the relevant DSBB base page and dissemination format page.

Presentation of Data by Sector of the Economy

6. The NSDP is to disseminate the prescribed categories of data and related components under four sectors (real sector, fiscal sector, financial sector, and external sector) of the economy, with an addendum on population data.


7. Subscribers should add a separate column to the right of the page to show references to footnotes; such references can be in the form of hyperlinks that directly lead to the footnotes, which are to be presented at the bottom of the page. Countries may also show the footnote numbers as hyperlinks, separated by at least one space, next to the name of the data category/component.

Unit Description

8. The information on the unit description should be comprehensive and can include the following, where applicable:

  • The units and magnitudes in which the data are disseminated.

  • The base year of an index.

  • The status of the data if other than “final” (for example, “preliminary”).

  • Whether the data are seasonally adjusted.

  • The nature of the data (such as the “average monthly wage” in the case of wages/earnings, etc., or “the percentage of labor force” in the case of employment or unemployment data).

9. With regard to units and magnitudes, they should be described as precisely as possible. However, where space constraints on the NSDP are an issue, data can be presented at a lower level of precision—for example, where the metadata describe data disseminated in thousands of units of national currency, the use of millions or billions may be necessary in order to fit the data into the NSDP column.

Format for Presenting Dates

10. The format of reference periods on the NSDP must conform with that shown for the ARC as follows:

  • Weekly: MMM/DD/YY (Jan/17/06);

  • Monthly: MMM/YY (Jan/06);

  • Quarterly: QQ/YY (Q1/06);

  • Semiannual: SAX/YY (SA1/06 for the first semester; SA2/06 for the second semester); and

  • Annual: YYYY (2005).

Most Relevant Series

11. If several series (e.g., labor market data) are described in the metadata shown on the DSBB and each meets the SDDS requirements, subscribers should disseminate data on the NSDP for the series that is/are most analytically relevant.

Separate Rows for Prescribed Components

12. Separate rows must be shown for each of the prescribed components. Daily data, as prescribed by the SDDS, need not be shown on the NSDP; subscribers have a choice of providing a hyperlink from the appropriate row to an official site containing the daily data or indicating in a footnote where the daily data can be obtained.

Interest Rates

13. When official interest rates (such as discount rates, bank rates, or policy variable rates) are fixed for a certain period of time, there is no need to change the reference period on the NSDP on a daily basis. Reference periods should be changed only when central banks make a new determination of their official rates. However, when the central bank decides not to change its official rate, the reference period on the NSDP should be updated to indicate the date when the central bank took that decision.

Dissemination of Prescribed Components on Additional Separate Webpages

14. Prescribed disaggregated components can be shown on additional webpages; to enable the IMF to routinely save images of the linked pages electronically, the webpages should have fixed URLs (uniform resource locators—Internet addresses). In addition, to facilitate the IMF’s electronic scanning of data for the purpose of monitoring of observance, the additional webpages should be directly linked (one click) to the main page. The data release dates should also appear on the separate webpages containing data on the prescribed components. A brief note is to be added at the beginning of the main NSDP page to alert users that some of the prescribed disaggregated components are shown on additional pages rather than on the main page. When a prescribed data category contains a large number of components for dissemination, subscribers may elect to disseminate the entire data category on a separate webpage. Each additional webpage must relate to only one data category. Data categories that are often disseminated on separate webpages include the national accounts, the data template on international reserves and foreign currency liquidity, international investment position (IIP), and external debt.

15. When subscribers disseminate prescribed data components on separate webpages, they must provide, on their NSDP, hyperlinks that lead directly to the webpages containing the data components for the reference periods. The dissemination of prescribed components through hyperlinks leading to home pages of national agencies—such as central banks, treasury departments, statistical agencies—or to archives of press releases are not acceptable. Hyperlinks should be inserted in the left column of the NSDP—“SDDS Data Category and Components”—on the descriptors to which the additional pages relate.

16. Footnotes can be shown on the main page and on the additional pages, as relevant. If a footnote applies to both the main page and to additional pages, it would be shown on each page.

17. When subscribers elect to disseminate the components of a data category on a separate webpage accessible by a hyperlink from the NSDP, they should also provide on the NSDP the following information with respect to the aggregated data:

  • Unit description;

  • Reference period for the latest data;

  • The latest data; and

  • Data for the previous reference period.

18. This would inform users if new data have been released and facilitate the IMF staff’s monitoring of subscribers’ observance of the SDDS. Examples are as follows:

  • National accounts. A minimum of two lines on the NSDP should show the latest reference period and actual data on national accounts (GDP) at current prices and GDP at constant prices, with hyperlinks to more detailed data as needed.

  • Components of official reserve assets. For the dissemination of the components of official reserve assets (foreign currency reserves, IMF reserve position, SDRs, gold, and other reserve assets), subscribers can elect either to add separate rows for each of these components directly on their NSDPs or to provide a hyperlink leading directly to a separate webpage containing a table with all the prescribed components for the reference periods.

  • Data template on international reserves and foreign currency liquidity. A minimum of one line on the NSDP should show the latest reference period as well as actual data on total gross official reserve assets, with a hyperlink leading directly to the detailed data.

  • IIP. A minimum of one row on the NSDP should show the latest reference period as well as actual data on the net international investment position, with hyperlinks leading directly to the detailed data.

  • External debt. A minimum of one line on the NSDP should show the latest reference period as well as actual data on total gross external debt, with a hyperlink leading directly to the detailed data.

Dissemination of Components When a Flexibility Option Is Taken

19. When a flexibility option for periodicity or timeliness is taken because some components of a data category cannot be released with the prescribed periodicity or timeliness (and, as a consequence, data for the prescribed components may have differing periodicities and/or timeliness), the NSDP should show the data components that are consistent with the metadata. For example, if a subscriber has monthly data for revenue, expenditure, and the deficit/surplus of central government operations (CGO), but has only quarterly data for the financing components, the NSDP should show the monthly data for revenue, expenditure, and deficit/surplus and the quarterly data for the financing components. In addition, in such a case, the following should occur:

  • If the subscriber is using more than two columns on the NSDP to show data observations, the sum of the three monthly observations for the revenue, expenditure, and deficit/surplus for a specific quarter should correspond to the figures shown for the quarterly financing data.

  • If the subscriber is using only two columns for data observations, a footnote should be added showing the data for the revenue, expenditure, and deficit/surplus for the quarter that correspond to the quarterly financing data.

20. In addition, when rows may contain empty cells because data are not yet disseminated, footnotes should be inserted to explain the use of flexibility options.

Sum of Components

21. When the NSDP contains a row with a total, subscribers should ensure that the sum of all components shown on the NSDP corresponds to the total provided. For example, for central government debt (CGD), the sum of the component rows showing the disaggregations by maturity must match the figure shown in the row for total debt.

Depository Corporations Survey (DCS) or the Central Bank Survey (CBS)

22. If the metadata indicate that separately identifiable data on credit to nonfinancial public enterprises (NFPEs) are not disseminated and, as a consequence, no separate row exists on the NSDP for this item, both the metadata and the footnote on the NSDP must indicate:

  • That the category under which the credit to NFPEs is included; or

  • That there is no credit to NFPEs (or to banks and financial institutions in the case of the CBS).

Note on Interest Rates, Share Price Index, and Exchange Rate

23. In the case of interest rate, share price index, and exchange rate data, certain prescribed data categories and/or components may not be applicable to the country (for example, short-term government securities may not be issued in the country, or there may be no forward exchange market or share price index). In these instances, footnotes are required. These should be consistent with the metadata and indicate why the prescribed category/component is not relevant.

Encouraged Data Categories/Components

24. Data on forward-looking indicators (FLIs), interest payments, and reserves-related liabilities, when disseminated, are to be shown on the NSDP. Other encouraged data can be presented on separate web-pages, with hyperlinks shown on the NSDP.

Additional Data Categories

25. Subscribers are allowed to disseminate additional data categories that are not covered by the SDDS. These additional categories must be clearly identified and placed at the bottom of the NSDP under a heading entitled “Non-SDDS Data.” They can also be presented on separate webpages, with hyperlinks shown under the “Non-SDDS Data” section.

Process for Linking the NSDP to the DSBB

26. Once a subscriber has completed the initial development work, the draft NSDP should be placed on a website that is accessible by the IMF staff, and a notice added to the website indicating that the site is “under construction.”

27. The SDDS coordinator for the country (or the NSDP coordinator, working through the SDDS coordinator) should then notify the staff of the IMF Statistics Department’s Data Dissemination Standards Division that the NSDP is ready for review and give the IMF staff access to the URL of the website (that is, http://www…).

28. The IMF staff will review the NSDP to: Ensure consistency between the metadata and the NSDP;

  • Identify any aspects of the metadata that require clarification in light of the NSDP;

  • Identify any changes in practices or the use of flexibility options that may be required as a result of the development of the NSDP;

  • Ensure consistency with the guidelines on the formatting of the NSDP;

  • Check that the hyperlinked footnotes, button bars, and hyperlinks to additional information are fully operational; and

  • Inform the subscribing country about aspects of the metadata and/or the NSDP that require further work.

29. Following final review and approval of the NSDP by the IMF staff, the SDDS coordinator will be informed of approval and requested to confirm the URL of the NSDP to which the DSBB can be hyper-linked. The IMF staff will then arrange for the establishment of the hyperlink between the DSBB and the country’s NSDP when the country subscribes to the SDDS.

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