Front Matter

Front Matter

International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
July 2007
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    © 2007 International Monetary Fund

    The point of contact in the IMF for the Special Data Dissemination Standard is:

    Chief, Data Dissemination Standards Division

    Statistics Department, International Monetary Fund

    700 19th Street, N.W.

    Washington, D.C. 20431, U.S.A.

    Tel.: (202) 623-4874 Telefax: (202) 623-6165

    E-mail: Internet:

    Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    The Special Data Dissemination System: guide for subscribers and users—[Washington, D.C.]: International Monetary Fund, 2007.

    p. cm.

    Includes bibliographical references.

    ISBN 9781589065550

    1. International Monetary Fund. 2. Disclosure of information. I. International Monetary Fund.

    HG3881.5.I58S63 2007

    Price: $25.00

    Please send orders to:

    International Monetary Fund, Publication Services

    700 19th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20431, U.S.A.

    Tel.: (202) 623-7430 Telefax: (202) 623-7201





    The world has learned a great deal in the past decade about the importance of data transparency. During the financial crises of the 1990s, data deficiencies, by obscuring important financial conditions and trends, may have contributed to delaying preventive or corrective actions that might have moderated the economic consequences of the unfolding events. In response, the International Monetary Fund launched two data transparency standards: the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS) in 1996 and the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) in 1997. Both initiatives have been successful in enhancing the range, quality, and timeliness of country data available to the public, providing better information to underpin the operations of international financial markets and economic policy assessments in general, and thus facilitating public and private decision making.

    This publication, The Special Data Dissemination Standard: Guide for Subscribers and Users (SDDS Guide), delineates key features and operational characteristics of the SDDS, including those pertaining to the Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB). The DSBB supports the data transparency standards by providing the public with wide and ready access to economic and financial data of countries that subscribe to the SDDS. The DSBB also provides insights into the statistical capacity building of countries that participate in the GDDS.

    The SDDS Guide aims to assist users of the DSBB in taking full advantage of the various features of the electronic bulletin board. It also fosters the observance of the SDDS consistently across subscribing countries to uphold the standard’s credibility for policymakers, capital market participants, and the public. In addition, it assists countries participating in the GDDS to move toward subscribing to the SDDS, as well as other member countries seeking subscription to the SDDS.

    The IMF appreciates the comments and suggestions that SDDS subscribing countries have provided during the development of this Guide. I recommend the SDDS Guide to all who are interested in the IMF’s data standards initiatives and in the integrity of economic and financial data that countries provide to the public.

    Rodrigo de Rato

    Managing Director

    International Monetary Fund


    The International Monetary Fund launched the data standards initiative to enhance member countries’ data transparency and to promote their development of sound statistical systems. The need for data standards was highlighted by the financial crises of the mid-1990s, in which information deficiencies were seen to play a role. Under the data standards initiative, the IMF established the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS) in 1996 to provide guidance to countries that have or seek access to capital markets to disseminate key data so that users in general, and financial market participants in particular, have adequate information to assess the economic situations of individual countries. In 1997, the IMF introduced under the initiative the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) to provide a framework for countries that aims to develop their statistical systems, within which they can work toward disseminating comprehensive and reliable data that, among other things, meet SDDS requirements.

    As part of the data standards initiative and in support of ready access by the public to information on countries’ dissemination practices, the IMF established an electronic bulletin board, called the Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB), on the IMF website ( The DSBB posts information that SDDS countries provide to the IMF on their dissemination practices and offers direct links to the economic and financial data that countries disseminate under the SDDS. The DSBB also displays information that GDDS countries make available to the IMF on their statistical practices.

    Member countries’ subscription to the SDDS or participation in the GDDS is voluntary. Countries subscribing to the SDDS must observe certain good dissemination practices, however, and the IMF monitors such observance. Those participating in the GDDS also have to develop plans to improve their statistics.

    As of March 2007, 64 countries and territories are SDDS subscribers and another 88 are GDDS participants. Empirical studies suggest that subscription to the SDDS or participation in the GDDS, to varying extents, can help reduce borrowing costs in international capital markets. A number of GDDS countries have graduated to become SDDS subscribers using the GDDS process as a stepping stone. In addition, enhanced data transparency and data quality in member countries have been important to the IMF’s work on surveillance and crisis prevention. A major accomplishment of the SDDS is the availability of timely, accurate, and comprehensive information on the economies of SDDS countries, accessible through the IMF’s DSBB.

    Updates to the SDDS

    Since the inception of the SDDS and the GDDS, their usefulness has been maintained through various enhancements to meet emerging needs of data users in the globalized economy. Enhancements to the SDDS, which have been incorporated in the GDDS where appropriate, have been guided by decisions of the IMF Executive Board in its reviews of the data standards initiative. The Executive Board has so far undertaken six such reviews.

    SDDS enhancements have added data on countries’ foreign currency liquidity and external debt, a change in response to the Asian financial crisis of 1997–98, which underscored the importance of such information for assessing countries’ external vulnerabilities. Other SDDS enhancements were to incorporate new manuals and guidelines that the IMF Statistics Department has developed to improve concepts and methods used to compile countries’ economic and financial data. These are the Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual(2000); Monetary and Financial Statistics: Compilation Guide (2007, forthcoming); International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity: Guidelines for a Data Template (2001); the Government Finance Statistics Manual (2001); International Investment Position—A Guide to Data Sources (2002); External Debt Statistics: Guide for Compilers and Users (2003); and Financial Soundness Indicators: Compilation Guide (2006). More recently, the Executive Board has endorsed steps to safeguard the credibility of the SDDS as a monitored standard to ensure that it retains the confidence of subscribing countries, international capital markets, and the public.

    This publication replaces the provisional May 1996 Guide to the Dissemination Standard. This Guide amplifies, and in some instances clarifies, issues of the provisional document. This Guide also aims to prepare GDDS participants to advance to become SDDS subscribers and to facilitate subscription to the SDDS.


    The SDDS Guide has benefited from comments and suggestions from SDDS coordinators and others in subscribing countries and from the staff of the Statistics Department and other departments of the IMF. I would like to thank Anne Y. Kester who prepared a final draft, Paul Austin, Alain Brousseau, and René Piché for their contributions, and Candida Andrade, John Cady, Keith Dublin, Antonio Galicia-Escotto, Artak Harutyunyan, Robert Heath, Alberto Jimenez de Lucio, Gary Jones, Emmanuel Kumah, Lucie Laliberté, Alfredo Leone, Randall C. Merris, Nolvia Saca Saca, Armida San Jose, Charles Sisson, and Wipada Soonthornsima for advice on the various topic areas, and, respectively, the current and former Division Chiefs of the Data Dissemination Standards Division, Claudia Dziobek and Kim Zieschang. Cathy Braganza and Sheridan Parsonson provided administrative support in preparing the manuscript, and James McEuen of the External Relations Department copyedited the final manuscript and coordinated publication of the Guide.

    Robert W. Edwards


    Statistics Department

    International Monetary Fund


    1993 SNA

    System of National Accounts, 1993

    1995 ESA

    1995 European System of Accounts


    Advance release calendar


    Bank for International Settlements


    Balance of Payments Manual, fifth edition


    Central bank survey


    Central government debt


    Central government operations


    Consumer price index


    Depository corporations survey

    Debt Guide

    External Debt Statistics: Guide for Compilers and Users(2003)


    Data Quality Assessment Framework


    Data Quality Reference Site


    Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board


    Forward-looking indicators

    FSI Guide

    Compilation Guide for Financial Soundness Indicators(2003)


    Group of Seven


    General Data Dissemination System


    Gross domestic product


    Government Finance Statistics

    GFSM 2001

    Government Finance Statistics Manual(2001)


    General government operations


    Gross national income


    Gross national product


    International investment position


    International Labor Organization


    International Monetary Fund


    International Monetary and Financial Committee


    International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (UN)


    Intersecretariat Working Group on Price Indices (Ottawa Group)


    Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual(2000)


    Nonfinancial public enterprise


    No later than


    Nonprofit institutions serving households


    National Summary Data Page


    Other depository corporation


    Other depository corporations survey


    Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development


    Producer price index


    Public sector operations


    Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes


    Special Data Dissemination Standard

    SDDS Guide

    The Special Data Dissemination Standard: Guide for Subscribers and Users


    Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange


    Standard Industrial Classification


    Summary of observance

    Template Guidelines

    International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity: Guidelines for a Data Template (2001)


    Uniform resource locator


    United Nations


    Wholesale price index

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