Appendix I: Statistical Note

International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
January 1986
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The statistical tables on officially supported export credits (Tables 1, 2, and 4) in this report are based primarily on information published jointly by the HIS and the OECD.27 This note provides a technical discussion on the statistics contained in these tables and further explanations for their analytical use.

Sources of Data and Coverage

Statistics on officially supported export credits28 are compiled from reports made by the export credit agencies and the official export financing institutions of the 22 OECD member countries under the OECD Creditor Reporting System (CRS). Data are reported separately for (i) guaranteed bank credits, i.e., trade credits or buyers’ credits that are extended by commercial banks to importers abroad with the guarantees or insurance of official agencies in the creditor countries; and (ii) nonbank export credits, i.e., suppliers’ credits that are extended by exporters to importers abroad with the guarantees or insurance of official agencies in the creditor countries, and direct export credits extended by the official creditor of the exporting country directly to the foreign buyer.

These data are integrated with data on bank claims reported separately to the BIS for a complete picture of bank and trade-related nonbank debt of the developing countries. In this integration, adjustments, e.g., for double counting, are made to present these data together on a consistent basis.

Certain categories of credits are excluded from the reported export credit statistics. Excluded, for example, are suppliers’ credits that are not officially guaranteed or insured, official development assistance, nontrade-related official lending, international securities issued by borrowing countries, and all categories of nonbank lending (whether official or private) from countries other than the 22 OECD members. Also, in some reporting countries the coverage of short-term export credits is not complete. Three countries, whose claims are small, have not reported these credits, while 3 other countries report them only for 40 selected major borrowing countries. In addition, for some countries information on the timing of shipments and on actual drawings on export credit lines is not always promptly available nor sufficiently detailed. Finally, in one country, no breakdown is provided between nonbank export credits and guaranteed bank credits.

Remaining Statistical Imperfections

Although significant advances have recently been made in upgrading the reliability and quality of these statistics, some statistical imperfections remain. These imperfections are due to departures from technical specifications in the original data reported by creditor countries to the OECD and the BIS, and to the estimation procedures used to integrate data from these two sources.

One element of estimation arises from the fact that, in addition to disbursed credits, a few creditors report undisbursed credits or credit lines and, in a small number of instances, the interest due over the life of credits. Estimates are made by the OECD in order to arrive at figures for disbursed credits only.

In the process of data integration, the breakdown of these statistics into guaranteed bank credits, non-guaranteed bank credits, and nonbank export credits also entails some elements of estimation. For example, when nonbank export credits have been purchased by banks (e.g., by way of discounting trade bills), they should be included in these statistics as guaranteed bank credits. It is known, however, that certain overlapping arises from the reports of six creditor countries where an unknown portion of the nonbank export credits is acquired by banks and where such credits are reported both to the OECD as nonbank export credits and to the BIS as bank credits. For two of these countries (the United Kingdom and the United States), adjustments have been made to eliminate the overlaps. For the remaining four countries (Canada, Finland, the Netherlands, and Sweden), no adjustments have been made and double counting arises to the extent that some nonbank export credits have been purchased and are held by banks. The OECD has estimated, however, that the maximum possible double counting is below 0.15 percent of the overall credits shown in these tables, with the actual percentage probably smaller.

Cautionary Aspects

Aside from technical imperfections, for certain analytical purposes the following aspects should be borne in mind:

Discontinuities of Series

The methodology for and the coverage of these statistics have been substantially improved and broadened over the years, and improvements have been made in the information provided by some reporting centers. As a result, statistics for end-December 1983 onward have been on the new and improved basis, but statistics before the end of 1983 are not directly comparable with these more recent series.

Impact of Exchange Rate Movements

All data are published in terms of stocks valued in U.S. dollars, the non-U.S. dollar elements of such data having been converted into U.S. dollars at the exchange rates prevailing on the reporting dates. Under this procedure, changes in the U.S. dollar value of debt outstanding reflect partly the exchange rate movements between the U.S. dollar and other currencies. Care, therefore, must be taken in deriving flows from stock data, as changes in stocks are significantly affected by exchange rate movements affecting that part of debt denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. Such distortions are particularly significant in the period of large realignment in the major international currencies, such as occurred in 1984. In this report, the exchange rate-adjusted changes in total export credits for the developing countries have been estimated based on the assumption that the currency composition of these total export credits is identical to that of the total bank claims as compiled in the International Financial Statistics’ International Banking Statistics. For 1984, when the U.S. dollar appreciated substantially vis-à-vis the major international currencies, this assumption entails a considerable degree of understatement of credit flows because it is believed that the currency mix of export credits is much more heavily weighted toward the domestic currencies of the creditor countries—and, therefore toward currencies other than the U.S. dollar—than is the currency mix of bank credits.29

Impact of Debt Rescheduling

Under the present reporting norms, aggregate export credit statistics as reported by creditors are believed to omit some rescheduled debts, sometimes owing to late reporting of reschedulings. Efforts are under way to improve the situation. In principle, the rescheduling of both accrued interest and principal payments should be fully reported by the export credit agencies or the export financing institutions to the CRS as a part of officially supported export credits. In practice, however, such reporting is not complete. The risk that total export credits will be understated in this context stems mainly from the fact that in some creditor countries the refinancing loans (associated with or implementing the rescheduling arrangement) can be extended by nonreporting public agencies (instead of the reporting export credit agencies or export financing institutions) or through the government budget. Such refinancing loans, therefore, are not reported within the framework of the CRS. When a refinancing loan is extended by the nonreporting public agencies or within the official sector, it is reported at times as a part of official development assistance, and not as officially supported export credits.

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