Currency Composition of Official Foreign Exchange Reserves (COFER)Last updated: March 29, 2013
The COFER database
COFER is an IMF database that keeps end-of-period quarterly data on the currency composition of official foreign exchange reserves. The currencies identified in COFER are:
- U.S. dollar,
- Pound sterling,
- Japanese yen,
- Swiss francs, and
- Other currencies.
Before the euro was introduced in 1999, the European currencies identified separately were:
- European Currency Unit (ECU),
- Deutsche mark,
- French franc, and
- Netherlands guilder.
Foreign exchange reserves in COFER consist of the monetary authorities’ claims on nonresidents in the form of:
- foreign banknotes,
- bank deposits,
- treasury bills,
- short- and long-term government securities, and
- other claims usable in the event of balance of payments needs.
Foreign exchange reserves in COFER do not include holdings of a currency by the issuing country. For instance, the U.S. dollar assets of the Federal Reserve and the euro assets of the European Central Bank and member countries of the European Economic and Monetary Union are not foreign exchange reserves. The definition of foreign exchange reserves in COFER is the same as that in the IMF’s International Financial Statistics (IFS).
COFER data are reported on a voluntary basis. At present, there are 144 reporters, consisting of member countries of the IMF, non-member countries/economies, and other foreign exchange reserves holding entities. The classification of countries in COFER (as advanced economies or emerging and developing economies) follows that currently used in IFS world tables.
The COFER presentation
- Advanced economies, and
- Emerging and developing economies
In addition to the lines for the five major currencies and “other currencies” there are two other lines in the tables:
- Unallocated Reserves, and
- Allocated Reserves.
The Unallocated Reserves line captures the difference between the total reserves data reported to IFS (for the world table on Foreign Exchange) and to COFER, for each of the country groupings mentioned above. It consists of two components:
- The total reserves of nonreporting countries, i.e., the countries within each grouping, which do not report currency composition data to COFER, and
any discrepancy between reporters’ data on total reserves as reported to COFER and to IFS.
- The Allocated Reserves line equals the reporters’ data on total reserves as reported to COFER.
Very little estimation is used in producing the COFER tables. Estimation is undertaken only for data gaps of four quarters or less.
Country coverage (of Allocated Reserves)
At the present, 34 advanced economies report to COFER.
Emerging and developing economies
At the present, 109 emerging and developing economies report to COFER.
Other characteristics of reporters
Historically, a moving sample of countries report to COFER in the sense that the data include some countries that did not report on all the dates indicated. Overall, country coverage of the sample has increased over the years.
Although the sample varied (as countries either stopped, started, or resumed reporting to COFER), the changes for the most part have involved countries with negligible reserves relative to the total for advanced economies or emerging and developing economies. To identify major changes, the COFER presentation will flag the dates whenever the sample changes involve countries whose combined reserves exceed 5 percent of the total allocated reserves of advanced economies or emerging and developing economies. There have been two such dates, 1996 and 1997, which are flagged in the attached tables.
The reporting sample is not random by construction because it depends on the willingness of individual country authorities to report to COFER. On a geographical basis, the rate of reporting compliance—measured in terms of the percentage of regional reserves accounted for by the reporters—is highest for countries from Europe and the Western Hemisphere.
Queries on COFER may be sent to StatisticsQuery@imf.org.