7 Things You Need to Know about the SDR


Let’s start from the beginning – What is an SDR? Is it money? Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) are an asset, though not money in the classic sense because they can’t be used to buy things. The value of an SDR is based on a basket of the world’s five leading currencies – the US dollar, euro, yuan, yen and the UK pound. The SDR is an accounting unit for IMF transactions with member countries – and a stable asset in countries’ international reserves.


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Q. How many SDRs have been allocated so far?

The Fund has allocated a total of SDR 660.7 billion (equivalent to about US$935.7 billion), including four general allocations and a one-time special allocation. Specifically:

  • SDR 9.3 billion was allocated in yearly installments in 1970–72.
  • SDR 12.1 billion was allocated in yearly installments in 1979–81.
  • SDR 161.2 billion was allocated on August 28, 2009
  • A special one-time allocation of SDR 21.5 billion took effect on September 9, 2009 to correct for the fact that members that had joined the IMF after 1981 had never received an allocation (the Fourth Amendment special allocation)
  • SDR 456.5 billion (equivalent to about US$650 billion) was allocated on August 23, 2021, by far the largest allocation to date
  • In addition, new members to the Fund receive an SDR allocation upon their participation in the SDR Department
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What is the SDR?

Video: What is the SDR?

Factsheet: Special Drawing Rights (SDR) 

The SDR is an international reserve asset, created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement its member countries’ official reserves. To date, a total of SDR 660.7 billion (equivalent to about US$943 billion) have been allocated. This includes the largest-ever allocation of about SDR 456 billion approved on August 2, 2021 (effective on August 23, 2021). This most recent allocation was to address the long-term global need for reserves, and help countries cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The value of the SDR is based on a basket of five currencies—the U.S. dollar, the euro, the Chinese renminbi, the Japanese yen, and the British pound sterling.

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SDR Currency Basket

   Currency Weights determined in the 2022 Review Fixed Number of Units of Currency for a 5-year period Starting August 1, 2022
  U.S. Dollar 43.38 0.57813
  Euro 29.31 0.37379
  Chinese Yuan 12.28 1.0993
  Japanese Yen 7.59 13.452
  Pound Sterling 7.44 0.080870