Front Matter

Front Matter

International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
Published Date:
December 2013
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    © 2013 International Monetary Fund

    Cataloging-in-Publication Data Joint Bank-Fund Library

    The special data dissemination standard: guide for subscribers and users. –Washington,

    D.C.: International Monetary Fund, 2013.

    p.; cm.

    ISBN 978-1-48430-365-8

    1. International Monetary Fund–Handbooks, manuals, etc. 2. Disclosure of information–Handbooks, manuals, etc. 3. Economics–Information services. 4. Finance–Information services. I. International Monetary Fund.

    HG3881.5.I58 G463 2013

    ISBN: 978-1-48430-365-8 (paper)

    978-1-61635-981-2 (ePub)

    978-1-48437-235-7 (Mobi pocket)

    978-1-48433-890-2 (web PDF)

    Please send orders to:

    International Monetary Fund, Publication Services

    P.O. Box 92780, Washington, D.C. 20090, U.S.A.

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





    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) launched the data standards initiatives 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 initiatives, 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. The SDDS not only prescribes that subscribers disseminate certain data categories but also prescribes that subscribers disseminate the relevant metadata to promote public knowledge and understanding of their compilation practices with respect to the required data categories. In 1997, the IMF introduced under the initiatives the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) to provide a framework for countries that aim to develop their statistical systems, within which they can work toward disseminating comprehensive and reliable data and, eventually, meet SDDS requirements. At the Eighth Review of the Fund’s Data Standards Initiatives in February 2012, the IMF’s Executive Board approved the SDDS Plus as an upper tier of the Fund’s data standards initiatives. The SDDS Plus is open to all SDDS subscribers and is aimed at economies with systemically important financial sectors.

    As part of the data standards initiatives 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 the IMF with 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.

    Empirical studies suggest that subscription to the SDDS or participation in the GDDS, to varying extents, can help reduce the costs of borrowing in international capital markets. 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 initiatives. The Executive Board has so far undertaken eight such reviews. Modifications since the Seventh Review in December 2010 have included the decision to broaden financial indicators in the SDDS in response to the financial crisis.

    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), the updated International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity: Guidelines for a Data Template (2013),1 the Government Finance Statistics Manual (2001), Quarterly International Investment Position Statistics: Data Sources and Compilation Techniques (2011), External Debt Statistics: Guide for Compilers and Users (2003), and Financial Soundness Indicators: Compilation Guide (2006). More recently, the IMF’s 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.

    In response to the global financial crisis of 2008, the IMF’s Executive Board agreed to start addressing data gaps in the context of SDDS by (1) including seven financial soundness indicators (FSIs) on an “encouraged” basis (that is, not legally “prescribed” under the SDDS) to strengthen information about the financial sector and better detect system risks; (2) moving to quarterly reporting (from annual) of the international investment position (IIP) data, with a maximum lag of one quarter (quarterly timeliness), on a “prescribed” basis, in order to better understand cross-border linkages; and (3) adding a simplified table on countries’ external debt by remaining maturity (on an “encouraged” basis), to better monitor the vulnerability of domestic economies to shocks. The data quality issue was also addressed through the requirement that the SDDS metadata should indicate where subscribers’ statistical practices deviate from internationally accepted statistical methodologies, as well as by encouraging SDDS subscribers to undertake and publish a data quality assessment using a recognized data quality assessment tool at no more than seven-to-ten-year intervals.

    During the Eighth Review of the Fund’s data standard initiatives in February 2012, the IMF’s Executive Board approved further enhancements to the SDDS. These include: (1) the introduction of a more structured timeline for the SDDS nonobservance procedures; (2) hyperlinks in the National Summary Data Pages (NSDPs) to longer time series and more detailed data by year-end 2012; (3) the addition of more structure and focus to the encouraged data category, forward-looking indicators (FLIs), with particular emphasis on specific FLIs; (4) the deletion of the Advance Release Calendar (ARC) flexibility options from the SDDS, after a transition period, by year-end 2017; (5) termination of the preparation of the SDDS quarterly update and its posting on the DSBB; and (6) incorporation of two additional data categories on an encouraged basis (sectoral balance sheets and general government total gross debt).

    This revised version of the Guide reflects the developments in the SDDS since 2007 and also amplifies, and in some instances clarifies, issues elaborated in the previous guide. It also aims to prepare GDDS participants for subscription to the SDDS.


    This SDDS Guide was prepared by the staff in the Data Dissemination and Review Division of the IMF’s Statistics Department, under the general direction of the Division Chief. Stella Addo and Julia Fookson provided administrative support in preparing the updated guide.

    The Guide has benefited from comments and suggestions from SDDS coordinators and others in subscribing countries, experts from international institutions, and other staff of the IMF’s Statistics Department and other IMF departments.

    Louis Marc Ducharme


    Statistics Department

    International Monetary Fund


    1993 SNA

    System of National Accounts, 1993

    1995 ESA

    1995 European System of Accounts

    2008 SNA

    System of National Accounts, 2008


    Advance release calendar


    Bank for International Settlements


    Balance of Payments


    Balance of Payments Manual, fifth edition


    Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual, sixth edition


    Central bank survey


    Statement of Sources and Uses of Cash


    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


    Financial soundness indicators

    FSI Guide

    Financial Soundness Indicators Compilation Guide (2006)


    Group of Seven


    General Data Dissemination System


    Gross domestic product


    Government finance statistics

    GFSM 1986

    Manual on Government Finance Statistics (1986)

    GFSM 2001

    Government Finance Statistics Manual (2001)


    General government operations


    Gross national income


    Gross national product


    Integrated Correspondence System


    International investment position


    International Labor Office


    International Monetary Fund


    International Monetary and Financial Committee


    International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (UN)


    Intersecretariat Working Group on Price Statistics (Ottawa Group)


    Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual (2000)


    Nonfinancial public enterprise


    No later than


    Nonprofit institutions serving households


    National Summary Data Page


    Other depository corporations


    Other depository corporations survey


    Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development


    Purchasing Managers’ Index


    Producer price index


    Public Sector Debt Statistics Guide 2011


    Public sector operations


    Report on Observance of Standards and Codes


    Special Data Dissemination Standard

    SDDS Guide

    The Special Data Dissemination Standard: Guide for Subscribers and Users

    SDDS Plus

    Special Data Dissemination Standard Plus


    Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange


    Special Drawing Rights


    Standard Industrial Classification


    Statement of Other Economic Flows


    Statement of Government Operations


    Summary of observance

    Reserves Template Guidelines

    International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity: Guidelines for a Data Template (2013)


    Task Force on Finance Statistics


    United Nations


    Wholesale price index

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