Chapter

1. The Special Data Dissemination Standard: Origin and Key Features

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
Published Date:
December 2013
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Origin and Purpose

1.1 The IMF’s work on data dissemination standards originated in the wake of the 1994–95 international financial crises, which underscored the role that information deficiencies could play in contributing to market turmoil. 1

1.2 In response to these crises, the IMF’s ministerial-level Interim Committee (since renamed the International Monetary and Financial Committee, or IMFC) in April 1995 requested a set of standards to guide IMF member countries in providing economic and financial statistics to the public. In June 1995, the Group of Seven (G-7) heads of state at their summit in Halifax, Canada, made a similar request to the IMF. The Interim Committee in October 1995 endorsed the establishment of standards to guide member countries in disseminating their economic and financial data to the public and the creation of an electronic bulletin board on the IMF website.

1.3 Following consultations by the IMF with national statistical agencies on best practices in disseminating economic and financial data to the public and on the needs of various data users in the financial community, the IMF’s Executive Board in March 1996 approved the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS) as the first of the two-tier data standards initiatives.2 The IMF’s Executive Board established the SDDS to guide member countries (in particular those that have or that might seek access to international capital markets) in providing economic and financial data to the public. The goal was to enhance the availability of timely and comprehensive statistics, thereby facilitating countries’ pursuit of sound macroeconomic policies and the improved functioning of financial markets. A related objective was to help prevent or mitigate financial crises by enhancing access to information critical to policymakers and participants in world capital markets. Subscription to the SDDS was opened to member countries in April 1996.

1.4 In the same year, the IMF established an electronic bulletin board, the Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB), on the IMF website at http://dsbb.imf.org, as part of the data standards initiatives to support ready access by the public to information on countries’ data dissemination practices.

Key Aspects of Dissemination

1.5 The SDDS identifies four dimensions of data dissemination:

  • Data coverage, periodicity (frequency), and timeliness

  • Access by the public

  • Integrity of the disseminated data

  • Quality of the disseminated data.

1.6 For each of these dimensions, the SDDS prescribes best practices that can be observed, or monitored, by the users of statistics. These practices are referred to as “monitorable elements.” Key dimensions and monitorable elements of the SDDS are summarized in Box 1.1.

Box 1.1Key Dimensions and Elements of the SDDS

There are four dimensions of the SDDS.

Data coverage, periodicity, and timeliness. Comprehensive economic and financial data, disseminated on a timely basis, are essential to the transparency of macroeconomic performance and policy. Countries subscribing to the SDDS are obliged to disseminate the prescribed categories of data with the specified coverage, periodicity, and timeliness.

Access by the public. Dissemination of official statistics is an essential feature of statistics as a public good. The SDDS calls for providing the public, including market participants, with ready and equal access to the data. Countries subscribing to the SDDS are obliged to (1) disseminate advance release calendars (ARCs) for the data and (2) release the data to all interested parties simultaneously.

Integrity. To fulfill the purpose of providing the public with information, official statistics must have the confidence of their users. In turn, confidence in the statistics ultimately becomes a matter of confidence in the objectivity and professionalism of the agencies producing the statistics. Transparency of its practices and procedures is a key factor in creating this confidence. The SDDS obliges subscribing countries to (1) disseminate the terms and conditions under which official statistics are produced, including those relating to the confidentiality of individually identifiable information; (2) identify internal government access to data before release to the public; (3) identify ministerial commentary on the occasion of statistical releases; and (4) provide information about revision and advance notice of major changes in methodology.

Quality. A set of standards that deals with the coverage, periodicity, and timeliness of data must also address the quality of statistics. Although quality is difficult to judge, monitorable proxies, designed to focus on information the user needs to judge quality, can be useful. The SDDS obliges subscribing countries to (1) disseminate documentation on methodology and sources used in preparing statistics, including the identification of methodological deviations from internationally accepted statistical methodologies, encouraging them to undertake and publish data modules of the Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (Data ROSCs) or other quality assessments every seven to ten years; and (2) disseminate component detail, reconciliations with related data, and statistical frameworks that support statistical cross-checks and provide assurance of reasonableness.

Source: IMF, Statistics Department.

1.7 In recognition of differences in economic structures and institutional arrangements among countries, and in the interest of flexibility, the SDDS designates some prescribed practices “as relevant.” It also indicates practices that are “encouraged” (that is, desirable), as opposed to “prescribed” (see Chapter 2 for more details).

Data Dimension

1.8 Under the dimension of data coverage, periodicity (or frequency), and timeliness, the SDDS focuses on disseminating the data considered most important for assessing macroeconomic performance and policy. It prescribes categories of data in four key sectors of the economy (real sector, fiscal sector, financial sector, and external sector). Box 1.2 describes the main updates to the SDDS from 1997 to 2012. A summary of the main changes to the guide since 2007 is shown in Appendix 1.

1.9 Under the real sector, the prescribed data categories are: national accounts, production index, employment (as relevant), unemployment (as relevant), wages/earnings (as relevant), consumer price index (CPI), and producer price index (PPI). The dissemination of forward-looking indicators (FLIs), covering industrial production or investment (such as the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) as a measure of business confidence), retail sales (as a measure of consumer confidence), and inflationary expectations, is encouraged. The dissemination of sectoral balance sheets is also encouraged.

1.10 Under the fiscal sector, the prescribed data categories are: general government operations (GGO) or public sector operations (PSO), central government operations (CGO), and central government debt (CGD). The dissemination of general government total gross debt data is encouraged.

1.11 Under the financial sector, the prescribed data categories are: depository corporations survey (DCS), central bank survey (CBS), interest rates, and share price index of the stock market. The dissemination of seven specified financial soundness indicators (FSIs) is encouraged.

Box 1.2Key Enhancements of the SDDS, 1997–2012

When the SDDS was established in March 1996, the IMF’s Executive Board emphasized that its implementation should be flexible and that the standard should evolve over time to incorporate best practices for data dissemination. The IMF’s Executive Board has undertaken eight reviews (1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2008, and 2012) of the data standards initiatives and, at each instance, decided to adapt the standards to changing circumstances.1 The main updates of the SDDS are listed below.

  • Developed procedures for modifying the SDDS (First Review)

  • Prescribed hyperlinks from the DSBB to the National Summary Data Page (NSDP) (Second Review)

  • Prescribed the dissemination of the Data Template on International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity (Reserves Template) (Second Review)

  • Supported the posting of an annual assessment report covering each subscribing member’s SDDS observance (Second and Sixth Review)2

  • Endorsed IMF staff’s systematic monitoring of subscribing countries’ observance of the SDDS (Third Review)

  • Lengthened the lag for disseminating annual data on international investment position (IIP) from six months to nine months and introduced a timetable requiring subscribing countries to begin disseminating IIP data (Third Review)

  • Adopted a three-year transition period (ending in March 2003) for prescribing a new SDDS data category on external debt covering all sectors with quarterly periodicity and timeliness (Fourth Review)

  • Endorsed the update of the SDDS following the publication of the IMF’s Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual 2000 (MFSM), and the IMF’s Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001 (GFSM 2001) (Fourth Review)

  • Supported the use of a common transmission standard for disseminating and exchanging statistical information (including metadata, i.e., statistical methods and practices) on the Internet among international organizations and their member countries, as being developed under the Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange (SDMX) Initiative, to which the IMF contributes (Fourth Review)

  • Introduced a targeted timeliness flexibility option for central government operations if quarterly accrual-based data (conforming to the GFSM 2001 or equivalent regional standards) on general government operations are disseminated with a lag of no more than one quarter (Fifth Review)

  • Made observance of automated reporting procedures an SDDS undertaking to enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness of monitoring, as well as sustain the credibility of the SDDS (Sixth Review)

  • Endorsed the use of the Data Quality Assessment Framework (DQAF) to present SDDS metadata in order to integrate the SDDS with the IMF’s work on Data ROSCs and technical assistance in statistical areas (Sixth Review)3

  • Endorsed the revision of the Data Template for International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity to cover exchange-traded futures, settled in domestic currency; the revision took effect in August 2009, beginning with data for July 2009 (Seventh Review)

  • Prescribed citations and deviations from internationally accepted statistical methodologies in metadata for all data categories (Seventh Review)

  • Encouraged to undertake and publish data quality assessments every seven to ten years (Seventh Review)

  • Encouraged subscribing countries to disseminate seven specified FSIs: Regulatory Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets; Regulatory Tier 1 capital to assets; Nonperforming loans net of provisions to capital; Nonperforming loans to total gross loans; Return on assets; Liquid assets to short-term liabilities; and Net open position in foreign exchange to capital (March 2010)

  • Prescribed the dissemination of quarterly IIP data with one-quarter timeliness, following a four-year transition period ending in September 2014 (March 2010)

  • Encouraged subscribers to disseminate external debt by remaining maturity using a simplified reporting table (March 2010)

  • Introduced a more structured timeline for the SDDS nonobservance procedures (Eighth Review)

  • Prescribed hyperlinks in the NSDPs to longer time series and more detailed data by year-end 2012 (Eighth Review)

  • Added more structure and focus to the encouraged data category FLIs, with particular emphasis on specific FLIs (Eighth Review)

  • Deleted the ARC flexibility options from the SDDS, after a transition period, by year-end 2017 (Eighth Review)

  • Terminated the preparation of the SDDS quarterly update and its posting on the DSBB (Eighth Review)

  • Incorporated two additional data categories, sectoral balance sheets and general government total gross debt, on an encouraged basis (Eighth Review)

Source: IMF, Statistics Department.1 The outcomes of IMF Executive Board’s reviews and the additional board discussion of the data standards initiatives are available on the Fund’s website: www.imf.org./external/np/sta/dsbb/list.htm.2 The first annual report was posted on the DSBB in May 2007 for the year 2006, and each subsequent report has been posted in May each year for the previous year.3 Conversion of the metadata to DQAF format was completed in 2008; both the traditional and DQAF views of the metadata are posted on the DSBB. Moreover, the DSBB contains a search tool using the DQAF codes.

1.12 Under the external sector, the prescribed data categories are: balance of payments (BOP), official reserve assets, international reserves and foreign currency liquidity (Reserves Template), merchandise trade, international investment position (IIP), external debt, and exchange rates. Dissemination of external debt by remaining maturity is encouraged.

1.13 Data on population are also prescribed for dissemination.

1.14 For each data category, the SDDS prescribes the coverage, periodicity, and timeliness with which data are to be disseminated. Certain components are marked for dissemination on an “as relevant” basis. “As relevant” refers to data categories that are specific to country structures and that therefore vary across countries. Some data categories are identified as “encouraged.” The SDDS also provides some flexibility on timeliness and periodicity requirements. Chapters 36 elaborate on the SDDS’s data coverage, periodicity, and timeliness for the various sectors.

1.15 The prescribed data coverage is deemed to be the minimum required for the SDDS. Subscribing countries are encouraged to disseminate additional data that may increase the transparency of their economic performance and policies. In disseminating additional data, subscribing countries are to follow practices consistent with those for the prescribed data categories.

Access, Integrity, and Quality Dimensions

1.16 For the dimensions of data access, integrity, and quality, the SDDS emphasizes transparency in the compilation and dissemination of data. Under these dimensions, as with the data dimension, in the interest of flexibility, some practices are prescribed and others are encouraged.

1.17 To promote ready and equal access, the SDDS prescribes (1) dissemination of advance release calendars (ARCs) and (2) simultaneous release to all interested parties.

1.18 To assist users in assessing the integrity of the data, the SDDS prescribes (1) the dissemination of the terms and conditions under which official statistics are produced and disseminated; (2) the identification of internal government access to data before release to the public; (3) the identification of ministerial commentary on the occasion of statistical releases; and (4) the provision of information about revision and advance notice of major changes in methodology.

1.19 To assist users in assessing data quality, the SDDS prescribes (1) the dissemination of documentation on statistical methodology, including deviations from internationally accepted statistical methodologies, and (2) the dissemination of component detail, reconciliations with related data, and statistical frameworks allowing cross-checks and checks of reasonableness. (Chapter 7 provides additional information on these SDDS concepts with respect to ready access by the public, data integrity, and data quality.)

Dissemination Formats

1.20 Dissemination refers to the release of data to the public and includes electronic dissemination, in addition to more traditional formats. A subscribing country3 is to establish a readily accessible webpage on its national website, referred to in the SDDS as the NSDP, on which it disseminates the data prescribed by the SDDS. The NSDP is to be hyperlinked to the IMF’s DSBB, facilitating ready access to the country data and metadata (i.e., statistical methods and practices) by the public. The NSDP should also include hyperlinks to time series data, while hyperlinks to more extensive datasets on the NSDP are encouraged. The NSDP and the DSBB are discussed in greater detail in Chapters 8 and 9.

Subscription to the SDDS

1.21 Member countries’ subscription to the SDDS is voluntary. Nonetheless, countries subscribing to the SDDS must undertake to observe the various dimensions and elements of the SDDS and to provide the necessary information to the IMF for dissemination on the DSBB. A basic tenet of the SDDS is that a subscribing country wants the public—in particular, financial markets—to know that it produces and disseminates high-quality data in a timely manner. Inclusion in the list of subscribers to the SDDS, which is posted on the DSBB, indicates that the country concerned meets a certain test of good statistical citizenship. Box 1.3 highlights some observed transparency and market efficiency effects of the SDDS subscription.

1.22 A member country that wishes to subscribe to the SDDS should first communicate this intention to the staff of the IMF4 and undertake to provide IMF staff with information on the country’s data dissemination practices (metadata). The member country should also designate an official to serve as the SDDS coordinator.

1.23 Upon receipt of the necessary metadata from a member, the IMF staff will work with the member to determine where its practices stand with respect to the SDDS as well as to identify any needed changes in practices. At this point, a member may make known publicly its intent to improve its data and dissemination practices and the goal of subscribing to the SDDS. If the IMF staff has determined that no changes are needed, the member may proceed to inform the Secretary of the IMF of its subscription to the SDDS. If changes to a member’s practices are required, the member may, after the necessary changes have been agreed upon with the IMF staff and implemented, proceed to inform the Secretary of the IMF of its subscription to the SDDS.

1.24 In all cases, the IMF publicly identifies a member’s subscription to the SDDS by posting the member’s metadata on the DSBB. A member may withdraw its subscription to the SDDS at any time by sending a notification to the Managing Director of the IMF. The relevant metadata would then be removed promptly from the DSBB.

The Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board

1.25 Each SDDS subscribing country is to provide to the IMF for posting on the DSBB information about the availability of the prescribed data and related compilation and dissemination practices. Since establishing the DSBB, the IMF has posted subscribers’ metadata on the Web through this bulletin board. Nevertheless, the responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of the metadata and underlying economic and financial data remains with the respective subscriber. Each country’s metadata should describe the practice for each of the monitorable elements of the SDDS. The metadata are to be submitted in formats via electronic means provided by the IMF staff to facilitate the presentation of the metadata on the DSBB.

Box 1.3Transparency and Market Efficiency Effects of the SDDS

This box provides a short survey of the literature analyzing the effects of greater economic policy transparency, including empirical studies of benefits of subscribing to the SDDS. A more detailed literature review was prepared for the IMF’s July 2005 Review of the Standards and Codes Initiative and is available at www.imf.org/external/np/pp/eng/2005/070105b.pdf.

Greater Economic Policy Transparency

A number of studies, such as Maher and Anderson (1999), Deutsche Bank (2004), and Yu (2005), present evidence that good corporate governance and accounting transparency are correlated with higher investment returns and lower spreads for corporate borrowers. The importance of good governance and transparency for capital market participants is emphasized by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (2001) and Price (2002).

In an empirical study, Podpiera (2005) found that higher compliance with Basel Core Principles for Banking Supervision is associated with improved banking sector performance. Hammed (2005) found that, after controlling for institutional and socioeconomic differences, countries with more transparent fiscal regimes tend to have better fiscal discipline and less corruption as well as more favorable credit ratings than their less transparent counterparts.

Market Efficiency Effects of the SDDS

In studies of sovereign borrowing costs for emerging market and developing countries, Cady (2005) and Cady and Pellechio (2006) found that subscription to the SDDS reduces launch spreads by about 20 percent (50 basis points), while participation in the GDDS reduces spreads by about 9 percent (20 basis points).

Cady and Gonzalez-Garcia (2006) examined the effects of the adoption of the IMF’s Data Template on International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity on nominal exchange rate volatility for 48 countries. After controlling for macroeconomic developments and policies, they found evidence that nominal exchange rate volatility decreases by about 20 percent following dissemination of reserves template data and that the effects of reserve adequacy and solvency on volatility are amplified.

Bibliography for the Literature Survey

    Cady, J., 2005, “Does SDDS Subscription Reduce Borrowing Costs for Emerging Market Economies?IMF Staff Papers, Vol. 52, No.3, pp. 50317. www.imf.org/External/Pubs/FT/staffp/2005/04/pdf/cady.pdf

    Cady, J., and Pellechio, A., 2006, “Sovereign Borrowing Cost and the IMF’s Data Standards Initiatives,IMF Working Paper 06/78 (Washington: International Monetary Fund). www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2006/wp0678.pdf

    Cady, J., and Gonzalez-Garcia, J., 2006, “The IMF’s Reserves Template and Nominal Exchange Rate Volatility,IMF Working Paper 06/274 (Washington: International Monetary Fund). www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2006/wp06274.pdf

    Deutsche Bank, 2004, “Beyond the Numbers. Corporate Governance: Implication for Investors,Deutsche Bank Report. www.unepfi.org/fileadmin/documents/materiality1/cg_deutsche_bank_2004.pdf

    Hameed, F., 2005, “Fiscal Transparency and Economic Outcomes,IMF Working Paper 05/225 (Washington: International Monetary Fund). www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2005/wp05225.pdf

    Maher, M., and Anderson, T., 1999, “Corporate Governance: Effect on Firm Performance and Economic Growth,OECD Report. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=218490

    Podpiera, R., 2005, “Does Compliance with Basel Core Principles Bring Any Measurable Benefits?IMF Staff Papers, Vol. 53, No.2, pp. 30625. www.imf.org/External/Pubs/FT/staffp/2006/02/pdf/podpiera.pdf

    Price, L., 2002, “Standards and Codes—Their Impact on Sovereign Ratings,Special Report, Fitch Ratings. www.fitchratings.com

    Pricewaterhouse Coopers, 2001, The Opacity Index. www.opacityindex.com

    The IMF’s Data Dissemination Initiative After 10 Years.Edited by W.E.Alexander, J.Cady, and J.GonzalezGarcia (Washington: International Monetary Fund, 2008). www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/books/2008/datadiss/dissemination.pdf

    Yu, F., 2005, “Accounting Transparency and the Term Structure of Credit Spreads,Journal of Financial Economics, Vol. 75, pp. 5384. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=504804

1.26 The DSBB provides a webpage for each subscribing country. On the country page, the DSBB presents the country’s metadata for each prescribed data category, including its SDDS coverage, periodicity, and timeliness (shown in the “base page”); formats in which country data are disseminated (under the “dissemination format page”); and concepts and methods used to compile the data (under the “summary methodology” page). In addition, the DSBB displays the country’s ARCs for the various prescribed categories and components of data. It also provides a summary of the country’s observance of the SDDS. The presentation of metadata on the DSBB allows users to assess the usefulness and limitations of countries’ data. It also facilitates the IMF’s monitoring of countries’ observance of the SDDS (see also Chapters 810).

1.27 The DSBB provides hyperlinks to countries’ NSDPs, facilitating user access to subscribers’ data directly from the DSBB. The DSBB also incorporates a querying facility that allows users to retrieve metadata by selected topics across subscribing countries.

Commitment to Observance

1.28 Specifically, by subscribing to the SDDS, a country commits to:

  • Compile all data categories and related components required by the Standard

  • Disseminate data with the prescribed coverage, periodicity, and timeliness on a readily accessible webpage on its national website, the NSDP,5 hyperlinked to the DSBB

  • Provide the IMF with an ARC containing release dates for each prescribed category of data for posting on the country page on the DSBB; the ARC dates should conform to SDDS requirements for periodicity and timeliness of data dissemination; the ARC provides release dates for the current month and at least the following three months

  • Provide metadata for dissemination on the DSBB in English using the predetermined electronic format the IMF provides, to facilitate crosscountry comparison6

  • Certify the accuracy of the metadata annually and undertake to update the metadata within the calendar quarter when changes have occurred (see also Chapters 9 and 10)

  • Appoint an SDDS coordinator7 to work with the IMF on various operational aspects of the SDDS.

1.29 The SDDS coordinator is the main contact person the subscribing country designates to work with the IMF on SDDS issues. For example, after subscription, compiling agencies’ correspondence with the IMF on SDDS matters is to be channeled through the SDDS coordinator or the alternate. To be effective, the coordinator must have sufficient authority to obtain the full cooperation of all national agencies involved in the compilation and dissemination of the data covered by the SDDS. The SDDS coordinator oversees the posting of national data on the NSDP on a regular and timely basis. The coordinator is responsible for annual certification of the national metadata, as well as for all metadata updates. In addition, the coordinator oversees the transmission of ARCs to the IMF for posting on the IMF’s DSBB (see also Appendix 2). The above SDDS requirements will be addressed in greater detail in later chapters.

Monitoring Observance

1.30 To maintain the credibility of the SDDS, the IMF verifies whether data posted on a subscribing country’s NSDP are consistent with the release dates indicated in the ARC, as provided by the country to the IMF, and with the subscribing country’s metadata posted on the DSBB. The IMF also verifies whether the data accord with the coverage, periodicity, and timeliness prescribed in the SDDS.8 In addition to monthly reports sent to individual subscribing countries about their observance, the IMF posts on the DSBB an annual assessment report covering each of the subscribing countries’ observance of the SDDS.9 These assessments distinguish “frequent” and “long” from “occasional” and “short” delays/early release in data dissemination, as well as other deviations from observance guidelines (see Chapter 10).

1.31 To facilitate the IMF’s monitoring of observance of the SDDS, subscribers are required to adopt the standardized electronic procedures established by the IMF for reporting the ARCs, presenting information on the NSDP, and certifying the accuracy of the metadata and their updates. The IMF aims to design procedures with a view to keeping reporting burden, cost of observance for subscribing countries, and efficiency of SDDS operations in balance.

1.32 The DSBB posts the list of SDDS subscribing countries at http://dsbb.imf.org/Applications/web/sddscountrylist/. Countries’ inclusion in the list of subscribers indicates that they subscribe to, and intend to observe, the substantive and operational aspects of the Standard. Serious and persistent nonobservance of the SDDS is the cause for removal from the DSBB.

Contact Information

1.33 The Data Dissemination and Review Division of the IMF’s Statistics Department is the contact point in the IMF for the SDDS. The contact information for the Division is:

  • Chief

  • Data Dissemination and Review Division

  • Statistics Department

  • International Monetary Fund

  • 700 19th Street N.W.

  • Washington, D.C., 20431

  • U.S.A.

  • Telephone: (202) 623-6895

  • Fax: (202) 623-6165 (or 623-6460)

  • E-mail address: sdds@imf.org

The Special Data Dissemination Standard: Guide for Subscribers and Users

1.34 This SDDS Guide further elaborates on the Standard and provides guidance on the observance of its various requirements. Observance of the Standard underpins its public credibility. This guide incorporates updates to the SDDS by the IMF Executive Board in its reviews of the Standard since 1996. It replaces the 2007 version of the guide. It includes the concepts and methods to be used in the compilation and dissemination of the data template on international reserves and foreign currency liquidity and those on external debt, as set forth in two IMF publications: International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity: Guidelines for a Data Template (2001; henceforward, Template Guidelines) and the External Debt Statistics: Guide for Compilers and Users (2003; henceforward, Debt Guide).10 However, subscribers and users are advised to check the DSBB (http://dsbb.imf.org/Pages/SDDS/StatMethod.aspx) for an updated list of internationally accepted statistical methodologies for these and other SDDS data categories. The guide also describes good compilation and dissemination practices as set forth in those internationally accepted statistical methodologies.

Organization of the SDDS Guide

1.35Chapter 2 of the guide presents general concepts used in the SDDS for data coverage, periodicity, and timeliness. Chapters 36 explore the SDDS-prescribed coverage, periodicity, and timeliness for data covered, respectively, under the real, fiscal, financial, and external sectors. Chapter 7 delineates SDDS requirements for ensuring equal and ready access by the public to the data, the integrity of data, and data quality. Chapter 8 discusses steps in preparing ARCs, metadata, and the NSDP. Chapter 9 shows how the DSBB posts SDDS subscribers’ ARCs and metadata and links with their NSDPs to provide users with easy access to data. Chapter 10 discusses IMF monitoring of observance of the SDDS. This guide also contains several appendices with reference materials.

In the wake of the 1994 crisis in Mexico, the international financial community recognized the essential role of data transparency for meeting the challenges and risks of globalization and reducing the likelihood of financial crises. The need was widely recognized for more timely dissemination of reliable macroeconomic and financial data and an improved early warning system to permit a swifter response to financial shocks.

The General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) was established in December 1997 as the second tier of the IMF’s data standards initiative. Following the December 2008 Seventh Review of the Fund’s Data Standards Initiatives, the GDDS has become more closely aligned with the SDDS (see www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pn/2008/pn08147.htm). Additional information on the GDDS is available at http://dsbb.imf.org/gddsindex.htm.

The terms “subscribing country” and “subscriber” and their respective plurals are used interchangeably in this guide.

The communication should be sent to the Director, Statistics Department, International Monetary Fund, 700 19th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20431, U.S.A.

The NSDP would contain, at a minimum, the most recent observation for the prescribed data category and the next most recent observation, and could also contain additional information. Following the Eighth Review, SDDS subscribers are also obliged to provide hyperlinks on their NSDPs to more complete time series. The responsibility for the data on the NSDP rests with individual subscribers (see Chapter 8).

Subscribers are required to observe guidelines set by the IMF, in consultation with subscribers, for automating the monitoring process. This includes, but is not limited to, observing formatting guidelines for NSDPs that permit electronic scanning and using online procedures for reporting the ARC, metadata updates, and periodic certification of the accuracy of those metadata. These guidelines and procedures may evolve as technology changes.

An alternate coordinator may also be appointed. The SDDS coordinator is important because for most subscribing countries, observance of the Standard and the provision of information to the IMF involves at least three agencies: the central bank, the ministry of finance, and the national statistical office.

Monitoring is carried out by the staff of the IMF’s Statistics Department.

The first such report was posted on the DSBB in 2007 for the year 2006 (see Box 1.2).

The most recent versions of these publications can be found at imf.org.

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