IMF's Financial Resources and Liquidity Position,
1997 - January 1999

(In billions of SDRs unless otherwise indicated;
Explanatory Note
Liquidity Home
January January 1999 

1997 1998 1998 SDRs US$ 
I.  Total resources 149.2 165.1 149.2 165.1 229
    Members' currencies 144.7 149.4 144.6 149.2 207
    Gold holdings 3.6 3.6 3.6 3.6 5
    SDR holdings 0.6 0.7 0.7 0.9 1
    Other assets 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0
    Available under GAB/NAB
-- 11.1 -- 11.1 15
II.  Less: Non-usable resources 98.5 111.5 100.2 110.6 154
III.  Equals: Usable resources 50.7 53.6 49.0 54.5 76
    Less: Amounts committed
  under arrangements
18.0 24.5 16.1 24.3 34
    Less: Minimum working balances 10.0 9.6 9.6 9.6 13
IV.  Net uncommitted usable resources
  (resources available to meet
  use of reserve positions and
  new commitments)*
22.7 19.5 23.3 20.6 29
  [Allowance for use of reserve positions] [11.8-14.1] [15.2-18.2] [12.2-14.7] [15.0-18.0] [21-25]
V.  Balances available under the GAB/NAB 18.5 18.6 18.5 18.6 26
VI.  Liquid liabilities 47.1 60.6 48.9 60.0 83
    Reserve tranche positions 47.1 56.3 48.9 55.7 77
    Outstanding borrowing
-- 4.3 -- 4.3 6
VII.  Liquidity ratio (in percent) 48.2 32.2 47.6 34.3 34.3
    (IV. divided by VI.)
  Memorandum item: US$ per SDR 1.34925 1.40803 1.34536 1.38977      
Note: Details may not add due to rounding.
*The Fund does not formally apportion its available net uncommitted resources (and resources remaining under the GAB/NAB) between the amounts that might be needed to meet encashment of members' reserve positions and resources to meet new commitments. However, the first claim on the Fund's resources is to meet requests to liquidate members' positions in the Fund--hence the importance of the liquidity ratio (i.e., the ratio of net uncommitted usable resources to liquid liabilities). It is difficult to project members' propensity to use their reserve positions (reserve tranche positions and outstanding lending under the GAB/NAB) at any particular time, though the likelihood that all the Fund's liquid liabilities would be encashed during a short period of time is relatively small. However, it is incumbent on the Fund to be in a position to meet any request for an encashment of reserve positions. For that purpose, the Fund needs to maintain an amount of usable resources that bears a reasonable relation to its liquid liabilities. While this ratio is neither a fixed nor minimum ratio, historically it has not fallen below 25-30 percent of liquid liabilities for any length of time, thereby maintaining the Fund's capacity to meet members' requests. Application of this range to the Fund's outstanding liquid liabilities is illustrated above.

The IMF's Financial Resources and Liquidity Position:
Explanatory Note

The accompanying table summarizes the IMF's financial resource and liquidity position expressed in SDRs, the IMF's unit of account. The following items are included:

  1. Total resources
    The largest component of the IMF's resources is its holdings of members' currencies (currently SDR 149.2 billion). Under the Articles of Agreement, the IMF's gold is valued at SDR 35 per ounce and thus gold holdings amount to SDR 3.6 billion. (At the market price on January 29, 1999--US$285.65 a fine ounce--the holdings would be valued at SDR 21.3 billion, about US$30 billion.) The IMF's holdings of gold are not readily usable because a decision to sell gold requires a majority of 85 percent of the total voting power in the Executive Board. Holdings of SDRs currently amount to SDR 0.9 billion; "other assets" (SDR 0.3 billion) reflects sundry assets (such as building and receivables) net of sundry payables. In addition to the IMF's own resources, SDR 11.1 billion remain currently usable under the activations of the General Arrangements to Borrow (GAB) agreed on July 20, 1998 and the New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB) agreed on December 2, 1998.

  2. Non-usable resources
    Resources that are considered non-usable to finance the IMF's ongoing operations and transactions are (i) its holdings of gold, (ii) the currencies of members that are using IMF resources and are therefore, by definition, in a weak balance of payments or reserve position, (iii) the currencies of other members with relatively weak external positions, and (iv) the "other assets" noted above. The use of IMF credit by a member increases the IMF's non-usable resources and reduces its usable resources by equivalent amounts.

  3. Usable resources
    These consist of (i) holdings of the currencies of members considered by the Executive Board to have a sufficiently strong balance of payments and reserve position for their currencies to be used in transactions, (ii) holdings of SDRs, and (iii) any unused amounts under credit lines already activated (such as under the GAB/NAB). Amounts committed under arrangements, which reflect undrawn balances committed under operative stand-by and extended arrangements, other than precautionary arrangements, are deducted from the total of usable resources, as are one-half of the amounts committed under precautionary arrangements. Minimum working balances required for the IMF to be able to make payments that must be made in specified currencies are also deducted. The Executive Board has decided that such balances be set at 10 percent of the quotas of members deemed sufficiently strong for their currencies to be used.

  4. Net uncommitted usable resources(resources available to meet reserve tranche purchases and new commitments)
    Currently usable resources minus resources already committed under existing arrangements and working balances as described above. This amount represents the resources available to meet requests for use of reserve positions in the IMF and new requests for use of IMF resources (see footnote to table).

  5. Balances available under the General Arrangements to Borrow (GAB) and the New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB)
    The IMF since October 1962 has entered into General Arrangements to Borrow (GAB) from the major industrial countries. Under the GAB, which has 11 adherents, and the Associated Agreement with Saudi Arabia, the IMF can borrow a total of up to SDR 18.5 billion when supplementary resources are needed to forestall or cope with an impairment of the international monetary system. The GAB were activated in July 1998 for an amount of SDR 6.3 billion (of which SDR 1.4 billion has been drawn). In November 1998 the New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB) entered into effect. The NAB, which has 25 participants, does not replace the GAB. The maximum amount of resources available to the IMF under the NAB and GAB combined is SDR 34 billion. The NAB is to be the first and principal recourse in the event of a need to provide supplementary resources to the Fund. The NAB were activated in December 1998 for an amount of SDR 9.1 billion (of which SDR 2.9 billion has been drawn). As a result of the recent activations of the GAB and the NAB totaling 15.4 billion, the amount of additional resources that could be available under the GAB/NAB is currently SDR 18.6 billion.

  6. Liquid liabilities
    The IMF's liquid liabilities consist of (i) reserve tranche positions of members, which a member acquires when the IMF uses the member's currency in its operations and through reserve assets paid by the member in connection with quota payments, and (ii) the amount of outstanding borrowing by the IMF, e.g., under the GAB/NAB. Both reserve tranche positions and outstanding lending under the GAB/NAB (together called reserve positions of members in the IMF) are part of members' international reserves. The Fund cannot challenge a request by a member to draw on its reserve position in the IMF when developments in its balance of payments or its reserve position make this necessary and the IMF must be in a position to meet such requests. At present, reserve tranche positions amount to SDR 55.7 billion, and outstanding borrowing, under the GAB/NAB, amounts to SDR 4.3 billion (out of total authorized calls of SDR 15.4 billion). The vast bulk of liquid liabilities reflects credit extended by the Fund, amounting to SDR 59.6 billion on January 31, 1999.

  7. Liquidity ratio
    The liquidity ratio is a measure of the IMF's liquidity position, represented by the ratio of its net uncommitted usable resources to its liquid liabilities.