10. Monitoring of Observance of the SDDS

International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
July 2007
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10.1 This chapter discusses the monitoring of subscribing countries’ observance of the SDDS. It includes procedures for addressing nonobservance.


10.2 Monitoring observance of the SDDS is key to maintaining the credibility of the Standard and its usefulness to policymakers, market participants, and other users. Subscribing countries are expected to observe the Standard and its operational requirements. The IMF Executive Board has endorsed the monitoring of observance.1

10.3 The IMF staff’s monitoring entails reviews of the coverage, timeliness, and periodicity of data disseminated on a subscribing country’s national summary data page (NSDP)2 relative to the requirements of the SDDS and information shown on the advance release calendars (ARCs) and in the metadata. The metadata are to be updated to reflect actual compilation and dissemination practices. In addition, monitoring tracks whether a subscribing country adheres to the standardized electronic procedures the IMF staff establishes for the SDDS in consultation with subscribing countries (see Chapters 8 and 9).

10.4 In addition to periodic communications between the IMF staff and SDDS country coordinators, each month the IMF staff sends to each of the coordinators a monthly “monitoring report,” where appropriate, suggesting ways to address deviations.

10.5 The IMF staff, as endorsed by the IMF Executive Board, also posts an annual assessment report on each subscribing country’s observance of the SDDS (beginning in 2007 for the year 2006; see Box 1.2 in Chapter 1). The assessment aggregates the monthly monitoring reports and covers each country’s observance of the SDDS with respect to coverage, periodicity, and timeliness; the dissemination of ARCs; the quarterly certification of the accuracy of metadata; and the quality of data.3 In addition, the report notes the country’s observance of the IMF procedures pertaining to the operations of the SDDS, including the use of the standardized electronic reporting procedures. The report differentiates major and minor deviations from the SDDS. As with issues identified in the monthly monitoring reports, the IMF staff, where appropriate, suggests ways in which subscribers may address observance issues.

Procedures for Addressing Nonobservance

10.6 In cases of nonobservance of prescribed practices, the IMF staff tries to resolve outstanding issues with the subscriber, at first directly, and then, if necessary, through the Executive Director representing the subscriber in the IMF. If these efforts fail to produce a satisfactory solution, the matter will be brought to the attention of the subscriber’s Governor for the IMF. At the same time, the IMF staff can post a note on the DSBB indicating that the IMF staff has determined that the subscriber is not in observance of the SDDS. The note will also describe the problem, the subscriber’s response to the problem, and the efforts under way to remedy it. If the problem persists and the subscriber fails to take satisfactory corrective measures, the matter will be referred to the Executive Board of the IMF, which can decide to delete the subscriber’s metadata from the DSBB.

10.7 If a subscriber fails to meet the metadata certification requirement for two successive certification dates, the Executive Director representing the subscriber in the IMF will be approached to help resolve the issue. Thereafter, the steps described in the preceding paragraph for dealing with nonobservance will be followed in addressing a failure to observe the quarterly certification requirement.

10.8 Given the importance of the data template on international reserves and foreign currency liquidity as an indicator for external vulnerability, the procedure described above will be conducted much more rapidly in cases of nonobservance of SDDS requirements for the data template.

Examples of Deviations from SDDS Requirements

10.9 As noted earlier, the reports (monthly monitoring reports to individual subscribers and the annual report assessing each subscriber’s SDDS observance) highlight deviations pertaining to coverage, periodicity, and timeliness. They also note the subscriber’s nonadherence to electronic procedures with respect to ARCs, metadata, and the NSDP, which hampers the IMF staff’s electronic monitoring efforts. Examples of these deviations are provided in this section.

Coverage Issues

10.10 Coverage issues are highlighted in monitoring reports if the data disseminated on the NSDP do not follow appropriate methodologies. For example, in disseminating monthly data on merchandise trade, monthly data on central government operations (CGO), and quarterly data on general government operations (GGO), subscribers may inappropriately release cumulative statistics covering several consecutive periods. The data should cover only the specific period.

10.11 Another example of inappropriate coverage would be if the data disseminated on the NSDP are not disaggregated by the components as prescribed in the SDDS—in particular, ones that are called for on GGO (including financing), CGO (including financing), central government debt (CGD), official reserve assets, the data template on international reserves and foreign currency liquidity, external debt, international investment position (IIP), and depository corporations surveys (DCS).4

10.12 If prescribed data categories or components are not disseminated on the NSDP, this also constitutes a coverage issue.

Periodicity and Timeliness Issues

10.13 If the release date shown on the ARC for a data category does not meet the SDDS-prescribed periodicity or timeliness (and the relevant flexibility option is not taken),5 this would be noted as a non-observance issue in the monitoring reports.

10.14 Another observance issue would be a case where the ARC meets the periodicity and timeliness of the SDDS but the actual release date does not meet the SDDS requirement (and the relevant flexibility option is not taken).

10.15 If data are not released on the NSDP as announced in the ARC,6 this constitutes non-observance.

Metadata Issues

10.16 If the quarterly certification of the accuracy of metadata is not completed or inaccurate metadata are not updated, this will be noted in annual monitoring reports.

10.17 If the metadata are incomplete or inconsistent with information shown in the ARCs and with the data released on the subscriber’s NSDP (for example, the release dates announced in the ARC indicate compilation practices that differ significantly from those described in the metadata), this would be noted in the annual monitoring reports.

ARC Issues

10.18 The ARCs do not provide release dates for at least the current and three following months.

10.19 The ARCs show dates that are inconsistent with the actual release dates.

10.20 When the “no later than” (NLT) dates are used in the ARCs and no ARC flexibility option is taken, the precise release dates are not provided, at the latest, on the last working day of the week prior to the week when the data are actually released.

10.21 The ARCs are not reported electronically on the ARC template established by the IMF staff; the dates shown on the ARC template are not consistent with IMF standardized format; for revised data components, a release date is reported on the ARC for data of which the status differs from that reported on the NSDP (for example, the ARC is for “final” data, but “preliminary” data are shown on the NSDP).

NSDP Issues

10.22 The NSDP does not follow the standardized format the IMF staff establishes.

10.23 Hyperlinks to data on the NSDP are not complete or not functional, in particular—ones covering the data template on international reserves and foreign currency liquidity, external debt, IIP, interest rates, and exchange rates. Hyperlinks do not directly lead to data for the relevant periods, and the hyper-linked tables are not placed in the same Internet location (URL) from period to period.

10.24 Data are not released on the NSDP as announced in the ARCs or as described in the metadata.

10.25 Data are not properly disseminated on the NSDP. For example, data for March, February, and January are shown in one cell on the NSDP instead of being presented in separate columns under “current period,” “previous period,” and “two periods ago,” respectively. Or data are described as “advance,” “preliminary,” or “final” in the data cell instead of in the “unit description” column. These deviations, among others, hamper the IMF’s electronic procedures for SDDS monitoring.

Other Monitoring Aspects

10.26 The electronic monitoring is performed daily. The subscriber’s NSDP is scanned daily, and a copy of the NSDP is saved electronically. Copies of web-pages containing components of official reserve assets, data template on international reserves and foreign currency liquidity, IIP, and external debt are also saved when components are not displayed directly on the NSDP.

10.27 Delays in the dissemination of data are calculated in terms of calendar days, not working days.

10.28 If one or more components of a data category are not disseminated on time, the monitoring report and the annual assessment will indicate the components for which the dissemination was delayed, and the whole data category will be marked as having been disseminated “late.” For example, if data on financing are not disseminated with the rest of the CGO data and in accordance with the ARC date, the entire CGO data category will be identified as not having been disseminated in a timely manner in the monitoring report and in the annual assessment.

10.29 If the ARC does not specify a separate release date for a component that is released after other components of the data category (while still being released within the prescribed timeliness), the entire data category will be marked as not having been released in accordance with the release date indicated in the ARC.

10.30 For subscribers using a flexibility option for periodicity or timeliness for a specific data category, the monitoring will be based on the ARC and the information contained in metadata.

10.31 Whenever a subscriber’s computer server is down, rendering the hyperlink to their NSDP nonfunctional, appropriate mention will be made in the reports. If data were due for release during the period in which the server was down, every day for which the link was not functional will be counted as a delay in dissemination. The nature of such delays, however, will be noted in the reports.

10.32 Monitoring reports and annual assessments will indicate instances where the subscriber did not meet its commitments under the SDDS. The observance issues will be noted by data category.

10.33 Monthly monitoring reports will be sent to the subscriber’s SDDS coordinator shortly after the end of each month.7 The reports will note whether the subscriber (a) meets all SDDS requirements, (b) does not disseminate data in accordance with its ARCs, or (c) does not meet all SDDS requirements.

10.34 For deviations from SDDS requirements, a subscriber will be requested to provide explanations such as when (a) data categories due for release were not disseminated; (b) delays were longer than three days; (c) components were not disseminated; (d) the periodicity described in the metadata was inconsistent with that reflected on the ARCs or that on the NSDP; (e) ARC dates did not meet SDDS requirements; and (f) there were other deviations.

10.35 When a deviation persists, the subscriber will be requested to describe measures to resolve the issue, and to provide a timetable for their implementation.

10.36 The annual assessment reflects the subscriber’s observance for the calendar year, noting deviations that have been resolved, outstanding issues and measures for their resolution, and other relevant information. Where applicable, reasons for deviations (such as delays in dissemination due to public holidays) are also noted in the assessment.

10.37 The annual assessment report of each subscriber’s SDDS observance will be posted on the DSBB.

The structured monitoring of observance of the SDDS began in July 2000 following the IMF Executive Board’s Third Review of the Fund’s Data Standards Initiative (March 2000). See The Executive Board authorized annual reports of subscribers’ observance of their SDDS undertakings in March 1999 after the Second Review of the Special Data Dissemination Standard. See also Section III.3 of the legal text (SDDS Annex) governing the SDDS at

The provision of data to other IMF departments or divisions is not considered for purposes of monitoring.

Quality is measured against the IMF’s Data Quality Assessment Framework (DQAF) or as assessed in the IMF’s Article IV consultations with the country. The DQAF provides a structure for assessing existing practices against best practices, including internationally accepted methodologies. However, it does not cover all SDDS data categories.

The component details disseminated should conform, at a minimum, to the prescribed SDDS components. For example, it is not sufficient to show simply the total amount of official reserve assets, external debt, or the IIP on the NSDP. The prescribed components must also be disseminated on the NSDP or on a dedicated webpage containing the data, in accordance with the prescribed periodicity and timeliness. Tables containing the prescribed components must be directly accessible from the NSDP.

When a subscriber does not take a flexibility option for a specific data category, it is required to meet SDDS-prescribed periodicity and timeliness. Monitoring compares the actual dissemination relative to the reference period/date prescribed by the SDDS and the release date announced by the subscriber in the ARC.

When ARC dates fall on nonworking days subscribers are nevertheless expected to meet these release dates. If a release date falls on a holiday and the subscriber expects difficulties to release the data on that day, the subscriber should change its release date to a date that would meet the SDDS requirements.

A brief analysis of the monitoring results for all subscribing countries is posted on a quarterly basis on the DSBB under the “Quarterly Update on the SDDS.”

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