The Fund's Transparency Policy—Issues and Next Steps
(Amendments to the Transparency Policy Decision)
February 12, 2004
Documents Related to the April 12, 2003 International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) Meeting
The IMF's Transparency Policy -- Progress Report on Publication of Country Documents, September 23, 2002
The Fund's Transparency Policy, Statement by IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler, on the Occasion of the Sixth Meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee, September 25, 2002
Transparency at the IMF
The Fund's Transparency Policy—Progress
Report on Publication of Country Documents
April 4, 2003
Use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view tables 1 - 5 (113 kb pdf file)
1. As requested by Executive Directors,1 this progress report for the Spring 2003 meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) updates the May 2002 staff paper on transparency that was discussed by the Executive Board on June 12, 2002.2 This report reviews broad publication trends, including in particular on the publication rates of Article IV and Use of Fund Resources (UFR) staff reports by country and region. Responding to the Directors' request, the Managing Director plans to submit this progress report to the IMFC.
2. This update of the May 2002 staff report on transparency covers documents discussed by the Board during March 1, 2002–February 21, 2003, and published as of March 21, 2003,3 and it focuses on Article IV and UFR staff reports and some associated documents (Public Information Notices (PINs), Letters of Intent and Memoranda of Economic and Financial Policies (LOI/MEFPs), Financial System Stability Assessments (FSSAs) and Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSCs). During this period, 852 documents were discussed, and 630 papers were published as of March 21, 2003 (Table 1). The recent data show that on balance, publication rates have continued to rise as the membership has increasingly embraced transparency. Notwithstanding the large overall number of documents discussed and published, however, publication rates of certain classes of documents (in particular those related to the use of Fund resources) are strongly affected by decisions of a few members with exceptional access not to publish. Owing to multiple reviews of programs with these members, a relatively large number of papers were discussed and not published (see below).
3. During the most recent period, 188 staff reports for Article IV consultation and UFR4 were discussed and 119 published (63 percent). This compares with the publication rate of 59 percent (as of March 31, 2002) in the May 2002 staff paper.5 During this recent period, 25 countries published their staff report for the first time, raising the total number of members for whom at least one staff report has been published to 133 (Table 2), representing 72 percent of the membership. The first two stand-alone staff monitored program staff reports were also published during this recent period (São Tomé and Príncipe and Sudan).
4. The publication rate of staff reports for stand-alone Article IV consultations continued to increase and reached 65 percent, compared with 59 percent in the May 2002 staff paper. For combined Article IV-UFR staff reports, the publication rate also increased—from 63 percent to 71 percent. However, the publication rate of stand-alone UFR staff reports remained constant at 56 percent. This stability in publication rates masks a rise in the publication rate for members with normal access limits, offset by a lower publication rate for the five members with exceptional access.6 The publication rate for stand-alone UFR staff reports for exceptional access cases declined from 39 percent in the period covered by the May 2002 staff paper to 13 percent in the more recent period.7 By contrast, the publication rate for normal access limits cases increased from 60 percent to 74 percent. Among the 38 members whose stand-alone UFR staff reports were discussed during the recent period, 26 published the reports (68 percent).
5. Although publication rates of staff reports have generally increased, they continue to be uneven across regions. In the recent period, publication rates for Article IV staff reports were high for advanced economies (96 percent), for central and eastern Europe were (100 percent), and for the CIS and Mongolia (88 percent; see Table 3). Publication rates were relatively low for the Middle East, Malta and Turkey (33 percent), for Asia (48 percent), and for the Western Hemisphere (48 percent). For stand-alone UFR staff reports, large differences in the publication rates across regions also remain. While the publication rates increased for nearly all regions, they declined significantly for Western Hemisphere from the already low levels in the past (Table 4). Sixty-nine percent (41 out of 59) of emerging market or "market-access" economies have published at least one Article IV or UFR staff report since the Fund moved to a policy of voluntary publication (Table 5). The publication rate for stand-alone PRGF country staff reports - at 67 percent - was much higher than for other stand-alone UFR staff reports (47 percent).
6. As for the LOI/MEFPs, their publication rates are at or close to 100 percent with the exception of the Western Hemisphere where they actually declined (Table 4). The publication rates of documents for PRGFs are higher than for other facilities. In the recent period, for PRGFs 92 percent of LOI/MEFPs were published, compared to 83 percent for other facilities.
7. During the recent period, 111 PINs (or 80 percent) were published following Article IV consultation, post-program monitoring or regional surveillance discussions (Table 1). The publication rates for Africa, Asia, Middle East and Western Hemisphere countries declined (Table 3).
8. The publication rate for FSSA reports was 58 percent (Table 1) during the latest period (compared with 50 percent in the May 2002 staff paper). Sixty-four percent of modules for ROSCs were published in the recent period compared to 73 percent in the earlier period. The decline reflects non-publication of eight FSSAs that include 34 ROSCs. The publication rate for ROSCs not related to FSAPs was 70 percent, while the one for FSAP-related ROSCs was 61 percent.
9. The proportion of staff reports with deletions declined to 8 percent, from 12 percent in the May 2002 staff paper. Corrections to staff reports continue to be made in line with the averages reported in the May 2002 staff paper, with corrections in over half of published staff reports (Table 1). Notably, the proportion of stand-alone Article IV staff reports published with corrections was very high (and increasing), and it remained more concentrated in advanced economies, while the proportion of stand-alone UFR staff reports with corrections continued to be low.
10. Publication lags for staff reports remain long, at an average 19 working days after the Board discussion, longer than the guideline of 10 working days, but shorter than reported in the May 2002 staff paper.
1 See IMF Reviews Experience and Next Steps in the Fund's Transparency Policy.
2 See The Fund's Transparency Policy-Review of the Experience and Next Steps. The previous progress report was submitted to the International Monetary and Financial Committee in the Fall of 2002.
3 The May 2002 staff paper covered documents discussed during January 4, 2001-February 28, 2002 and published as of March 31, 2002. Accordingly, the data in that paper did not take into account the publication of five staff reports after March 31, 2002.
4 Includes Article IV, combined Article IV/UFR, and UFR staff reports.
5 If five staff reports published after the May 2002 staff paper's cutoff date of March 31, 2002 were included (see footnote 1), the publication rate would be 61 percent, and not 59 percent.
6 During the period of the May 2002 staff paper, four members with exceptional access had stand-alone UFR staff reports; during the more recent period, there were five such members. See Table 1 of Access Policy in Capital Account Crises-Modifications to the Supplemental Reserve Facility (SRF) and Follow-up Issues Related to Exceptional Access Policy.
7 One stand-alone UFR staff report involving exceptional access that was discussed during the period covered by the May 2002 staff paper was published after the cutoff date for that paper (see footnote 1). Including that staff report, the publication rate would be 43 percent. The publication rates may further increase as additional staff reports are published. Consent has already been given for the publication of one additional staff report, which would raise the publication rate in the recent period to 18 percent.