Appendix 1. The Special Data Dissemination Standard and the Data Template on International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity

International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
Published Date:
October 2013
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A1.1 The IMF’s Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS) was established by the Fund’s executive board in March 1996, with the aim of enhancing the availability of timely, reliable, and comprehensive economic and financial statistics. The SDDS is intended to guide member countries that have, or might seek, access to international capital markets in their provision of economic and financial data to the public. It was anticipated that the SDDS would contribute to the pursuit of sound macroeconomic policies and aid the functioning of financial markets.

A1.2 Subscription to the SDDS was and remains voluntary, and subscribing members agree to provide information on data categories that cover the four sectors of the economy (national income and prices, the fiscal sector, the financial sector, and the external sector). Within these sectors, the SDDS prescribes the coverage, periodicity (or frequency), and timeliness with which the data are to be disseminated. The SDDS coverage also prescribes the advance dissemination of release calendars for the data categories and that the data be simultaneously released to all interested parties. More information on the SDDS can be found on the Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB) on the IMF’s Website:

A1.3 The original (March 1996) specification of the SDDS included, as a prescribed category, the presentation of information on gross international reserves (reserve assets) with a periodicity of one month and a lag of no more than one week. The provision of these data with a periodicity of one week was encouraged. The SDDS also encouraged, but did not prescribe, the provision of information on reserve related liabilities.

A1.4 At the time of the executive board’s first review of the SDDS in December 1997, events in international financial markets had underscored the importance of the timely provision of information on a country’s reserves and reserve related liabilities. It became clear that monthly information on gross international reserves alone did not allow for a sufficiently comprehensive assessment of a country’s official foreign currency exposure, and hence its vulnerability to pressures on its foreign currency reserves. At this time the executive board asked the staff to consult with SDDS subscribing countries and with users of the SDDS to determine what might be done to strengthen the coverage of reserves and reserve-related liabilities in the SDDS. The results of this consultation were initially considered by the executive board in early September 1998 and were further discussed in December 1998 (at the time of the second review of the SDDS), including review of an initial proposal for a data template on international reserves and related items.

A1.5 The executive board reached a decision on the means of strengthening the provision of information on international reserves and foreign currency liquidity within the SDDS in March 1999 by ratifying the dissemination of data on reserves through the Reserves Data Template. In addition to providing for more explicit specification of the constituents of official reserve assets, the Template provides for the inclusion of details on other official foreign currency assets and on predetermined and contingent short-term net drains on foreign currency assets. It is thus much broader in coverage than the original SDDS specification of gross reserves assets and established the new standard for the provision of information to the public on the amount and composition of reserve assets, other foreign exchange assets held by the central bank and the government, short-term foreign currency liabilities, and related activities that can lead to demands on reserves (such as financial derivatives positions and guarantees extended by the government for private borrowing).

A1.6 In reaching its decision on the Reserves Data Template, the executive board took account of the widespread interest in increasing the transparency of information on international reserves and related information. It was also conscious of the concerns expressed by member countries about the resource costs of compiling and disseminating detailed, frequent, and timely data and the possibility that this would reduce the effectiveness of exchange market intervention. The final decision reflected a balancing of these objectives and concerns. The Template was finalized in cooperation with a working group of the Committee on the Global Financial System of the G10 Central Banks.

A1.7 The Reserves Data Template was modified in April 2009 to be consistent with an IMF board decision on strengthening the effectiveness of Article VIII, Section 5 of the IMF Articles of Agreement. The IMF executive board saw the need for the Reserves Data Template to cover all derivatives denominated in foreign currency and settled by other means (e.g., in domestic currency), Section IV.(1)(b), and not just nondeliverable forwards as previously. The changes in the Reserves Data Template became effective in August 2009, starting with data reported for July 2009. The Guidelines have been updated to ensure consistency with the modifications to the Reserves Data Template and the text of the BPM6.

A1.8 The SDDS prescription for completion of the Reserves Data Template calls for the full dissemination of data on a monthly basis, with a lag of no more than one month, although data on gross international reserves are still prescribed for dissemination on a monthly basis with a lag of no more than one week. The dissemination of the full template on a weekly basis, with a lag of no more than one week, is encouraged.1

See The Special Data Dissemination Standard: Guide for Subscribers and Users, International Monetary Fund.

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