Chapter

6. External Sector: Data Coverage, Periodicity, and Timeliness

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
July 2007
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6.1 This chapter discusses the coverage, periodicity, and timeliness of external sector data. It covers the balance of payments, international reserves, the data template on international reserves and foreign currency liquidity, merchandise trade, international investment position (IIP), external debt, and exchange rates.

Balance of Payments

6.2 The balance of payments and the IIP represent the two interrelated comprehensive statistical frameworks for the external sector, with the former covering external transactions over a specific period of time (flows) and the latter presenting external positions at a point in time (stocks). The IMF’s Balance of Payments Manual, fifth edition (BPM5) http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/cat/longres.cfm?sk=157.0 provides the internationally accepted guidelines for the compilation of these data. SDDS metadata for these two data categories can be prepared with reference to the BPM5 with notes indicating differences between a country’s practices and international guidelines. (See also Table 2.1 for the key components to be disseminated.)

6.3 For the balance of payments, the SDDS prescribes the dissemination of quarterly data within one quarter after the reference quarter (see also paragraph 2.15 of this Guide on the reporting of flow data).

6.4 A flexibility option may not be taken with regard to periodicity; a flexibility option may, however, be taken with regard to timeliness, subject to meeting the prescribed periodicity and timeliness for international reserves and merchandise trade data (see also Chapter 2.)

Official Reserve Assets

6.5 Official reserve assets can serve as a tracking category, providing a more frequent and timely indicator of external sector developments than the comprehensive framework of balance of payments.

6.6 The SDDS prescribes the dissemination of data on official reserve assets on a monthly basis within one week after the end of the reference month. Unlike balance of payments statistics, which are flow data covering transactions over a reference period, official reserves assets are stock data, referring to holdings of such assets at a point in time (for example, on the last day of a calendar month, or on the last day of a week, or on a given day).

6.7 The data are to cover foreign currency reserve assets, gold, the reserve position in the IMF, SDRs, and other reserve assets. A definition of official reserve assets is provided in the BPM5 and is further explained in the IMF’s International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity: Guidelines for a Data Template (Template Guidelines) (2001).1 Presenting data in U.S. dollars or other SDR-basket currencies (euros, yen, and pounds sterling) facilitates international comparisons.

6.8 The coverage of reserve assets is to be described in the metadata, with reference to the BPM5 and the Template Guidelines, noting differences between a country’s practices and international guidelines.

6.9 A flexibility option may not be taken for either periodicity or timeliness of data on international reserves (see also Chapter 2).

Data Template on International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity

6.10 The data template is to be disseminated on a monthly basis with no more than a one-month lag. The SDDS encourages dissemination of weekly data on the full template with a lag of no more than one week.

6.11 If a subscriber releases the reserves template with one-week timeliness, the subscriber will have met the timeliness for official reserve assets; official reserve assets represent one of the key components of the data template. If not, official reserve assets and its five prescribed components should be separately disseminated on the NSDP within one week of the end of the reference period.

6.12 There are four integral sections of the data template:

  • Official reserve assets and other foreign currency assets;

  • Predetermined short-term net drains on foreign currency assets;

  • Contingent short-term net drains on foreign currency assets; and

  • Memorandum items.

6.13 Dissemination of the data template requires that all of its four sections be released; the disclosure of nonactivity in certain items is as informative as the reporting of certain activities. The four sections of the template together are intended to provide a comprehensive picture of a country’s foreign currency liquidity position, facilitating assessments of a country’s external vulnerability, especially its risks to foreign currency shocks. Guidelines for reporting the template data are provided in the IMF’s Template Guidelines. In disseminating the template data, the Template Guidelines are to be adhered to in order to be in observance of the SDDS. Presenting data in U.S. dollars or other SDR-basket currencies (euros, yen, and pounds sterling) facilitates international comparisons.

6.14Table 6.1 (at the end of this chapter) presents the data template on international reserves and foreign currency liquidity that SDDS subscribers must disseminate on a national website and make available to SDDS users through a hyperlink from their NSDP. Subscribers are strongly encouraged to submit the data template to the IMF for redissemination on the IMF database at http://www.imf.org/external/np/sta/ir/index.htm. This database is maintained by the IMF’s Statistics Department; it presents historical data on countries’ data templates and allows users to view or download the information.

Table 6.1.Data Template on International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity

(Information to be disclosed by the monetary authorities and other central government, excluding social security)1

I. Official Reserve Assets and Other Foreign Currency Assets (Approximate Market Value)2
A. Official reserve assets
(1) Foreign currency reserves (in convertible foreign currencies)
(a) Securities
Of which: issuer headquartered in reporting country but located abroad
(b) Total currency and deposits with:
(i) Other national central banks, BIS and IMF
(ii) Banks headquartered in the reporting country
Of which: located abroad
(iii) Banks headquartered outside the reporting country
Of which: located in the reporting country
(2) IMF reserve position
(3) SDRs
(4) Gold (including gold deposits and, if appropriate, gold swapped)3
—Volume in fine troy ounces
(5) Other reserve assets (specify)
—Financial derivatives
—Loans to nonbank nonresidents
—Other
B. Other foreign currency assets (specify)
—Securities not included in official reserve assets
—Deposits not included in official reserve assets
—Loans not included in official reserve assets
—Financial derivatives not included in official reserve assets
—Gold not included in official reserve assets
—Other
II. Predetermined Short-Term Net Drains on Foreign Currency Assets (NominalValue)
Maturity Breakdown (Residual Maturity)
TotalUp to 1 monthMore than 1 month and up to 3 monthsMore than 3 months and up to 1 year
1. Foreign currency loans, securities, and deposits4
—Outflows (–)Principal
Interest
—Inflows (+)Principal
Interest
2. Aggregate short and long positions in forwards and futures in foreign currencies vis-à-vis the domestic currency (including the forward leg of currency swaps)5
(a) Short positions (–)
(b) Long positions (+)
3. Other (specify)
—Outflows related to repos (–)
—Inflows related to reverse repos (+)
—Trade credit (–)
—Trade credit (+)
—Other accounts payable (–)
—Other accounts receivable (+)
III. Contingent Short-Term Net Drains on Foreign Currency Assets (NominalValue)
Maturity Breakdown (residual maturity)
TotalUp to 1 monthMore than 1 month and up to 3 monthsMore than 3 months and up to 1 year
1. Contingent liabilities in foreign currency
(a) Collateral guarantees on debt falling due within 1year
(b) Other contingent liabilities
2. Foreign currency securities issued with embedded options (puttable bonds)6
3. Undrawn, unconditional credit lines7 provided by:
(a) Other national monetary authorities, BIS, IMF, and other international organizations
—Other national monetary authorities (+)
—BIS (+)
—IMF (+)
(b) Banks and other financial institutions headquartered in the reporting country (+)
(c) Banks and other financial institutions headquartered outside the reporting country (+)
Undrawn, unconditional credit lines provided to:
(a) Other national monetary authorities, BIS, IMF, and other international organizations
—Other national monetary authorities (–)
—BIS (–)
—IMF (–)
(b) Banks and other financial institutions headquartered in reporting country (–)
(c) Banks and other financial institutions headquartered outside the reporting country (–)
4. Aggregate short and long positions of options in foreign currencies vis-à-vis the domestic currency8
(a) Short positions
(i) Bought puts
(ii) Written calls
(b) Long positions
(i) Bought calls
(ii) Written puts
PRO MEMORIA: In-the-money options9
(1) At current exchange rates
(a) Short position
(b) Long position
(2) +5% (depreciation of 5%)
(a) Short position
(b) Long position
(3)–5%(appreciation of 5%)
(a) Short position
(b) Long position
(4) +10% (depreciation of 10%)
(a) Short position
(b) Long position
(5)–10% (appreciation of 10%)
(a) Short position
(b) Long position
(6) Other (specify)
IV. Memorandum Items
(1) To be reported with standard periodicity and timeliness:10
(a) Short-term domestic currency debt indexed to the exchange rate
(b) Financial instruments denominated in foreign currency and settled by other means (for example, in domestic currency)11
—Nondeliverable forwards
—Short positions
—Long positions
—Other instruments
(c) Pledged assets12
—Included in reserve assets
—Included in other foreign currency assets
(d) Securities lent and on repo13
—Lent or repoed and included in Section I
—Lent or repoed but not included in Section I
—Borrowed or acquired and included in Section I
—Borrowed or acquired but not included in Section I
(e) Financial derivative assets (net, marked to market)14
—Forwards
—Futures
—Swaps
—Options
—Other
(f) Derivatives (forward, futures, or options contracts) that have a residual maturity of greater than one year, which are subject to margin calls.
—Aggregate short and long positions in forwards and futures in foreign currencies vis-à-vis the domestic currency (including the forward
(a) Short positions (–)
(b) Long positions (+)
—Aggregate short and long positions of options in foreign currencies vis-à-vis the domestic currency
(a) Short positions
(i) Bought puts
(ii) Written calls
(b) Long positions
(i) Bought calls
(ii) Written puts
(2) To be disclosed less frequently:
(a) Currency composition of reserves (by groups of currencies)
—Currencies in SDR basket
—Currencies not in SDR basket
—By individual currencies (optional)

6.15 No flexibility option is associated with this data category. Subscribers must meet the coverage, periodicity, and timeliness requirements for all components of the data template.

Merchandise Trade

6.16 Merchandise trade data serves as yet another tracking category for the balance of payments, providing a more frequent and timely indicator of developments in the current account of the balance of payments. (See paragraph 2.15 of this Guide on the reporting of flow data; see also BPM5.)

6.17 The SDDS prescribes that data for merchandise trade on a monthly basis to be disseminated within eight weeks of the end of the reference month; timeliness of four to six weeks after the end of the reference month is encouraged.

6.18 The SDDS prescribes that both total merchandise imports and total merchandise export data be disseminated within the indicated timeliness. Dissemination of disaggregated components of imports and those of exports by major categories is encouraged, even with a slightly longer lag if needed.

6.19 Subscribers may take a flexibility option for the periodicity and/or timeliness of merchandise trade data. (Note, however, that the specifications for periodicity and timeliness for merchandise trade must be met if a subscriber takes a flexibility option for the timeliness of the balance of payments data category.)

International Investment Position

6.20 The IIP shows a country’s financial claims on, and liabilities to, the rest of the world at a given point in time.2 The SDDS prescribes the dissemination of annual IIP data within three quarters after the end of the reference year. Dissemination of quarterly data with no more than a one-quarter lag is encouraged. Data presented in the IIP are stock data (see paragraph 2.15 of this Guide on the reporting of stock data). The IMF’s publication International Investment Position—A Guide to Data Sources (2002)3 provides guidance on the compilation of IIP data.

6.21 Key components of the IIP (corresponding to the major components of the financial account of the balance of payments) are shown below; assets and liabilities are to be separately shown accordingly:

  • Direct investment;

  • Portfolio investment, disaggregated into equity and debt;4

  • Other investment; and

  • Reserves (assets only).

6.22 The SDDS recommends a disaggregation of assets and liabilities by instrument and sector (monetary authorities, general government, banks, and other sectors) in line with the standard components of the BPM5. In addition, the SDDS encourages subscribers to reclassify financial derivatives from a subcomponent of portfolio investment to a separate functional category, in line with the International Investment Position—A Guide to Data Sources (2002).

6.23 A flexibility option may be taken for the periodicity and/or timeliness of IIP data.

External Debt

6.24External Debt Statistics: Guide for Compilers and Users (2003)5 provides the internationally accepted guidelines for the compilation of external debt statistics. The SDDS prescribes the dissemination of external debt data on a quarterly basis with a lag of no more than one quarter.

6.25 The data are to cover the general government, the monetary authorities, other depository corporations (ODCs) subsector (also referred to as “banking sector” in the BPM5), and all other sectors, with the external debt position of each sector disaggregated by maturity—short-term and long-term—on an original maturity basis and by instrument. The classifications by domestic sector, by maturity, and by instrument are consistent with those set forth in the BPM5. Direct investment intercompany lending should preferably be disseminated separately from the four sectors. Alternatively, direct investment intercompany lending should be reported under its relevant sector. Table 6.2a (at the end of this chapter) provides the prescribed framework for the presentation of the data. If detailed information is available, “other sectors” can be disaggregated into (a) nonbank financial corporations, (b) nonfinancial corporations, and (c) households and nonprofit institutions serving households (NPISHs). The additional sectoral detail and the arrears item (part of other debt liabilities, short-term) are not prescribed by the SDDS, but debt compilers may compile such data for their analytical value.

Table 6.2a.Gross External Debt Position
Gross External Debt PositionEnd of Period
General Government
Short-term
Money market instruments
Loans
Trade credits
Other debt liabilities*
Long-term
Bonds and notes
Loans
Trade credits
Other debt liabilities*
Monetary Authorities
Short-term
Money market instruments
Loans
Currency and deposits**
Other debt liabilities*
Long-term
Bonds and notes
Loans
Currency and deposits**
Other debt liabilities*
Banks
Short-term
Money market instruments
Loans
Currency and deposits**
Other debt liabilities*
Long-term
Bonds and notes
Loans
Currency and deposits**
Other debt liabilities*
Other Sectors
Short-term
Money market instruments
Loans
Currency and deposits**
Trade credits
Other debt liabilities*
Long-term
Bonds and notes
Loans
Currency and deposits**
Trade credits
Other debt liabilities*
Direct Investment: Intercompany Lending***
Debt liabilities to affiliated enterprises
Debt liabilities to direct investors
Gross External Debt

6.26 Subscribers are encouraged to provide supplementary information on future debt-service payments as shown in Table 6.2b. In this table, the principal and interest components are separately identified, twice yearly for the first four quarters and the following two semesters ahead, with a lag of one quarter. The data are to be disaggregated by sector—general government, monetary authorities, banks, and all other sectors. Data on debt liabilities to affiliated enterprises and debt liabilities to direct investors are also encouraged. If information is available, other sectors can be disaggregated into (a) nonbank financial corporations, (b) nonfinancial corporations, and (c) households and NPISHs. The additional sectoral detail is not prescribed by the SDDS, but debt compilers may wish to compile such data for their analytical value.

Table 6.2b.Debt-Service Payment Schedule for Outstanding External Debt by Sector as of End of Period1, 2
(Months)
Immediate30–34–67–910–1213–1819–24Over two years
General Government
Debt securities3
Principal
Interest
Loans
Principal
Interest
Trade credits
Principal
Interest
Other debt liabilities4
Principal
Interest
Monetary Authorities
Debts securities3
Principal
Interest
Loans
Principal
Interest
Currency and deposits5
Principal
Interest
Other debt liabilities4
Principal
Interest
Banks
Debt securities3
Principal
Interest
Loans
Principal
Interest
Currency and deposits5
Principal
Interest
Other debt liabilities4
Principal
Interest
Other Sectors
Debt securities3
Principal
Interest
Loans
Principal
Interest
Currency and deposits5
Principal
Interest
Trade credits
Principal
Interest
Other debt liabilities4
Principal
Interest
Direct Investment:
Intercompany Lending6
Debt liabilities to affiliated
enterprises
Principal
Interest
Debt liabilities to direct
investors
Principal
Interest
Gross External Debt
Payments
Principal
Interest

6.27 In addition, the dissemination of a domestic/foreign currency disaggregation of external debt with quarterly periodicity and timeliness is encouraged (see Table 6.2c).

Table 6.2c.Gross External Debt Position: Foreign Currency and Domestic Currency Debt
End of Period
Foreign currency
Short-term
Long-term
Total
Domestic currency
Short-term
Long-term
Total
Gross External Debt

6.28 Subscribers are strongly encouraged to submit external debt data for dissemination on the World Bank’s Quarterly External Debt Statistics database.6

6.29 No flexibility option is associated with this data category. Subscribers must meet the periodicity and timeliness requirements for all prescribed components of this data category.

Exchange Rates

6.30 The SDDS calls for the dissemination of spot market exchange rates for major currencies with respect to the national currency. The SDDS prescribes dissemination of three-and six-month forward rates on an “as relevant” basis; that is, where a forward exchange rate market exists.

6.31 The SDDS prescribes the daily dissemination of exchange rates. The Standard recognizes that exchange rates are widely available from private sources, and that dissemination by official producers is therefore not time-sensitive. The metadata should indicate the principal nongovernmental primary sources, if any, of exchange rates. Official producers are, nevertheless, encouraged to redisseminate information on exchange rates. There is no prescribed timeliness for dissemination of these data.

6.32 Subscribers may take a flexibility option for periodicity.

An electronic copy of the Template Guidelines is available at http://dsbb.imf.org/Applications/web/sddsguide.

Note that monetary gold, SDRs, and IMF reserve position, as components of reserve assets, are covered under the IIP.

IMF, International Investment Position—A Guide to Data Sources (Washington: IMF Statistics Department, 2002). Available electronically at http://www.imf.org/external/np/sta/iip/guide/iipguide.pdf.

The SDDS encourages subscribers to reclassify financial derivatives from a subcomponent of portfolio investment to a separate functional category in the IIP, in line with the amendments to the BPM5 published in IMF, Financial Derivatives: A Supplement to the Fifth Edition (1993) of the Balance of Payments Manual, (Washington, 1993) and in IMF, “Classification of Financial Derivatives Involving Affiliated Enterprises in the Balance of Payments Statistics and the International Investment Position (IIP) Statement” (June 2002); the latter is available electronically at http://www.imf.org/external/np/sta/fd/2002/fdclass.pdf.

For more information, see the following webpage: http://www.worldbank.org/data, under “Quarterly External Debt Statistics.”

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