Selected Decisions and Selected Documents of the IMF, Thirty- Sixth Issue -- The Acting Chair’s Summing Up— Eighth Review of the Fund’s Data Standards Initiatives

Prepared by the Legal Department of the IMF
As updated as of December 31, 2011

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ARTICLE VIII, SECTION 5
Furnishing of Information

The Acting Chair’s Summing Up— Eighth Review of the Fund’s Data Standards Initiatives
Executive Board Meeting 12/18, February 22, 2012

Executive Directors considered the review of the Fund’s Data Standards Initiatives appropriate and timely, and noted that these initiatives have contributed to strengthening data quality and transparency. They considered proposals for further enhancing the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS) and the creation of the SDDS Plus as a new tier under these initiatives, given the need to fill data gaps to help prevent and mitigate financial crises. Directors expressed broad satisfaction with developments in the data standards initiatives since the Seventh Review of the Fund’s Data Standards Initiatives in December 2008.

Directors broadly supported the proposed enhancements to the SDDS. They saw merit in enhancing the SDDS by adding hyperlinks on the National Summary Data Pages (NSDPs) to time series for all data categories. Most Directors supported the introduction of a more structured timeline to strengthen the credibility of the nonobservance procedure. Most Directors also supported proposals to streamline the SDDS, by structuring Forward Looking Indicators and deleting ARC flexibility options. In this context, Directors supported terminating the posting of the SDDS quarterly update on the Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board.

Directors encouraged members to continue their efforts to strengthen participation in the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS), including by further increasing participation and by encouraging participants to update annually their plans for improvement. Directors also agreed with the proposal to better leverage plans for focusing further and prioritizing the delivery of technical assistance in statistics. They looked forward to the graduation of additional countries from the GDDS to the SDDS as national statistical systems strengthen, while recognizing that progress in this area is likely to proceed at a measured pace. In this regard, Directors highlighted the importance of continued outreach efforts and well-prioritized technical assistance. A few Directors raised a concern about the resource implications that data initiatives for advanced economies may have on GDDS participants.

Directors broadly supported developing concrete proposals on the data categories and modalities of the SDDS Plus since the Interim Report for the Eighth Review in February 2011. They were encouraged to note that the proposed data categories and the modalities were developed in collaboration with other international institutions and capital markets, and were guided by feedback from SDDS subscribers and some GDDS participants.

Directors generally supported the nine additional data categories, especially for countries with systemically important global financial sectors, although many Directors saw merit in more flexibility for reporting and inclusion of certain categories. Directors supported the introduction of transition periods for certain categories to accommodate country-specific circumstances. In this context, Directors supported a transition period through end-2019.

Directors underscored the importance of continuing close collaboration with national authorities and relevant international bodies—in particular the Financial Stability Board, the Bank for International Settlements, and the Inter-Agency Group on Economic and Financial Statistics—for the resolution of any procedural and operational issues that may arise in the future.

In light of today’s discussion, updated SDDS and new SDDS Plus legal texts will be prepared by staff and submitted to the Executive Board in the second half of 2012 for approval. Upon approval, the SDDS Plus initiative would be officially launched and countries would be able to indicate their intention to adhere to the SDDS Plus initiative. Directors generally agreed that the next review of the Fund’s Data Standards Initiatives should take place in about two year

BUFF/12/20,

February 24, 2012

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