IMF General Arrangements to Borrow to Lapse on December 25, 2018

December 26, 2017

Participants in the General Arrangements to Borrow (GAB) have agreed unanimously that the GAB should be allowed to lapse when its current term ends on December 25, 2018, given its diminished and limited usefulness. In reaching their unanimous agreement, GAB participants noted that, while the GAB has served a useful role in the past, its importance as a backstop against potential systemic shocks has declined substantially over the years. The size of the GAB, unchanged since 1983, has fallen sharply relative to quotas and the New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB). The GAB has also not been activated in almost 20 years and the modalities of borrowing under the GAB are less flexible than those under the NAB. Furthermore, the GAB does not add to the Fund’s total lending capacity, which remains strong.

In light of these considerations, the GAB decision was not renewed by the IMF’s Executive Board by December 25, 2017, the deadline for its renewal. The associated agreement with Saudi Arabia will also not be renewed and its term will also end on December 25, 2018.


The GAB was established in 1962 and is a standing borrowing arrangement in an aggregate amount of SDR 17 billion (about US$ 24 billion as of December 2017) between the Fund and a group of eleven members and central banks. [1] It has been renewed periodically, most recently in 2012 for a period of five years from December 26, 2013. Its size has not increased since 1983 and has declined sharply in recent years relative to the Fund’s overall lending capacity, which today stands at about US$1 trillion. Moreover, since the establishment of the NAB in 1998, the GAB no longer adds to the Fund’s total lending capacity, as participants’ overall commitments under these two standing borrowing arrangements cannot exceed the total amount of NAB credit arrangements. The GAB may be activated only in limited circumstances where a proposal to activate the NAB has not been accepted by NAB participants. The last activation of the GAB took place in 1998 shortly before the NAB became effective.

For additional background see: "IMF Standing Borrowing Arrangements" at

[1] The associated agreement with Saudi Arabia was established in 1983 for an amount equivalent to SDR 1.5 billion.

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