Selected Decisions and Selected Documents of the IMF, Fortieth Issue -- Access Policy and Limits in the Credit Tranches and Under the Extended Fund Facility and on Overall Access to the Fund’s General Resources, and Exceptional Access Policy—Review and Modification

Prepared by the Legal Department of the IMF
As updated as of April 30, 2019

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ARTICLE V, SECTION 3(a), (b), AND (c)
Use of Fund Resources
Access Policy


  • 1. The Fund has reviewed the guidelines and the limits for access by members to the Fund’s general resources set forth in Decision No. 14064-(08/18), adopted February 22, 2008, as amended, and decides as follows.

  • 2. The overall access by members to the Fund’s general resources shall be subject to (i) an annual limit of 145 percent of quota; and (ii) a cumulative limit of 435 percent of quota, net of scheduled repurchases; provided that these limits will not apply in cases where a member requests a Flexible Credit Line arrangement in the credit tranches, although outstanding holdings of a member’s currency arising under such arrangements will be taken into account when applying these limits in cases involving requests for access under other Fund facilities.1

  • 3. Subject to paragraph 4 below, the Fund may approve access in excess of the limits set forth in this Decision in exceptional circumstances, provided the following four substantive criteria are met:

    • (a) The member is experiencing or has the potential to experience exceptional balance of payments pressures on the current account or the capital account, resulting in a need for Fund financing that cannot be met within the normal limits.

    • (b) A rigorous and systematic analysis indicates that there is a high probability that the member’s public debt is sustainable in the medium term. Where the member’s debt is assessed to be unsustainable ex ante, exceptional access will only be made available where the financing being provided from sources other than the Fund restores debt sustainability with a high probability. Where the member’s debt is considered sustainable but not with a high probability, exceptional access would be justified if financing provided from sources other than the Fund, although it may not restore sustainability with high probability, improves debt sustainability and sufficiently enhances the safeguards for Fund resources. For purposes of this criterion, financing provided from sources other than the Fund may include, inter alia, financing obtained through any intended debt restructuring. This criterion applies only to public (domestic and external) debt. However, the analysis of such public debt sustainability will incorporate any relevant contingent liabilities, including those potentially arising from private external indebtedness.

    • (c) The member has prospects of gaining or regaining access to private capital markets within a timeframe and on a scale that would enable the member to meet its obligations falling due to the Fund.

    • (d) The policy program of the member provides a reasonably strong prospect of success, including not only the member’s adjustment plans but also its institutional and political capacity to deliver that adjustment.

  • 4. When exceptional access is approved under a PLL arrangement pursuant to paragraph 3, such access, combined with the member’s access to the Fund’s resources under other PLL arrangements, shall in no event exceed a cumulative limit of 500 percent of quota, net of scheduled repurchases.

  • 5. Unless otherwise specified in a general decision of the Executive Board, the procedures set forth in BUFF/02/159 (9/20/02), BUFF/03/28 (3/5/03), and BUFF/05/68 (4/13/05) shall apply to all cases involving access in excess of the limits set forth in this Decision.

  • 6. This Decision shall be reviewed on an as needed basis in accordance with Decision No. 15764-(15/39), adopted April 23, 2015, on implementing streamlining of policy reviews.

Decision No. 14064-(08/18),

February 22, 2008,

as amended by Decision Nos. 14184-(08/93), October 29, 2008,

14284-(09/29), March 24, 2009,

BUFF/10/56, May 9, 2010,

14716-(10/83), August 30, 2010,

15017-11/112), November 21, 2011,

15931-(16/4), January 20, 2016, and


February 17, 2016.


II. Considerations Governing Amount of Access

The considerations that need to be taken into account in determining the amount of access in individual arrangements and current practice on access have been discussed in recent staff papers, in particular in EBS/83/132 (6/27/83), and may be briefly recapitulated here. The first important consideration is the member’s actual or potential need for resources from the Fund, taking into account other sources of financing and the desirability of maintaining a reasonable level of reserves; in no circumstances can access be greater than this need. The second important consideration stems from the need to preserve the revolving character of the resources that the Fund provides, i.e., the ability of the member to service its indebtedness to the Fund. In determining the case for Fund support and the amount involved, the timing and extent of the expected improvement in the member’s balance of payments are relevant factors. It follows that adjustment policies in support of which the Fund’s resources are to be used must be designed and implemented in such a manner as to lead to a strengthening of the balance of payments by the time the repurchases begin to fall due and of a sufficient extent to allow the member to make the repurchases without strain. Finally, the amount of the member’s outstanding use of Fund credit and its record in using Fund resources in the past must enter into the judgment on the appropriate scale of further use of the Fund.


1 Ed. Note: Paragraph 2 of Decision No. 15941-(16/14), February 17, 2016 states: “2. The modification of overall access limits set forth under this decision [in paragraphs 2 and 4] shall not cause members to be subject to the exceptional access policy if they were not subject to the said policy prior to the entrance into effect of this Decision, unless following the entrance into effect of this Decision the Executive Board approves access to the Fund’s general resources account under a new arrangement, or through an augmentation of access under an arrangement that was in place prior to the entrance into effect of this Decision, or through an outright purchase under the RFI, in an amount that would cause the member to exceed the overall annual or cumulative access limits set forth under this decision.”

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