World Map

External Debt Statistics and the IMF

The IMF is one of several international agencies actively involved in the work of measuring and monitoring external debt. In particular, the Fund chairs the Task Force on Finance Statistics (TFFS), an interagency task force endorsed by the UN Statistical Commission which was re-convened in 1998 to co-ordinate work among the participating agencies to improve the quality, transparency, timeliness and availability of data on external debt and international reserve assets. Other agencies involved in the recent work of the TFFS have included the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the Commonwealth Secretariat, the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Statistical Office (Eurostat), the OECD, the Paris Club Secretariat, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and the World Bank.

More information on the TFFS's work is available at

Two key objectives of the TFFS have been to develop guidelines on the compilation and use of external debt statistics and to increase the availability of external debt statistics.

World Bank Quarterly External Debt Statistics (QEDS). In an effort to facilitate comparison and analysis of countries' external debt positions, the IMF and World Bank launched an online database on November 18, 2004 that offers better access to timely and comparable quarterly external debt statistics for 55 countries. The database is updated every three months and brings together external debt statistics that are normally published individually by countries that subscribe to the IMF's Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS). The database is maintained by the World Bank.

The Joint External Debt Hub (JEDH). This database, jointly developed by the BIS, IMF, OECD and the World Bank, was launched on March 30, 2006. It brings together national data available from the QEDS and creditor/market data available from the international agencies. Some selected foreign assets data are also included. The JEDH replaces the Joint BIS-IMF-OECD-WB Statistics on External Debt, a website that was launched in 1999 to provide international data, mainly from creditor sources, on the external debt of developing and transition countries and territories.

Data Quality Assessment Framework (DQAF) for External Debt Statistics. In June 2005, with the support of the TFFS, the Statistics Department concluded the preparation of the DQAF for External Debt Statistics. The DQAF, which is used for comprehensive assessments of countries’ data quality, covers institutional arrangements, statistical processes, and characteristics of the statistical products. The development of the external debt DQAF is intended to contribute to the identification, promotion, and assessment of good practices in the compilation and dissemination of external debt statistics.

Other related material includes: