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Quarterly Update on the Special Data Dissemination Standard—Fourth Quarter 2002
February 25, 2002

New Subscriber

On November 8, 2002, Greece became the fifty-first subscriber to the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS), marking a major step forward in the development of the country's statistical system (see IMF News Brief No. 02/112).

Observance Status

By the end of the fourth quarter, 50 of 51 subscribers met the SDDS requirements for the coverage, periodicity, and timeliness of the data and for the dissemination of advance release calendars, compared with 49 of 50 subscribers at the end of the previous quarter. (Table 1).1 (A complete list of subscribers may be accessed on the IMF's Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB) at http://dsbb.imf.org/Applications/web/sddscountrylist/.) One SDDS subscriber—Iceland—was not in observance of the Standard. Information on the status of this subscriber has been posted on the DSBB (see the What's New page). All 51 SDDS subscribers now disclose data on international reserves and foreign currency liquidity in accordance with the SDDS reserves data template.

Table 1. SDDS Indicators
Indicators As of
Dec. 31, 2001
As of
Sep. 30, 2002
As of
Dec. 31, 2002
Number of subscribers 50 50 51
Number of countries in observance1 49 49 50
Countries working with IMF staff for possible subscription   8 11 10
Number of countries with NSDP hyperlinked to the DSBB2 49 49 50
Number of countries with summary methodologies posted3 47 49 50
Number of summary methodologies posted 662   736   790  
Subscribers disclosing data based on the reserves template 50 50 51
1Observance of the externally monitorable elements of the SDDS, i.e., the coverage, periodicity, and timeliness of the data and the use of advance release calendars. Other elements of the SDDS dealing with the integrity and quality of the data are on a self-disclosure basis, with subscribers providing information on which users can make their own judgments.
2India has not yet completed work on its National Summary Data Page (NSDP).
3A list of the ten most recently posted Summary Methodology statements is available on the What's New page.


Monitoring of the data and access dimensions of the SDDS is carried out against the release dates stated in subscribers' advance release calendars and metadata. In the fourth quarter, there was a decline in the on-time dissemination of releases for monthly and quarterly data categories compared with the same quarter of 2001 (Table 2). Notwithstanding the adjustment of release dates due to extended holiday periods, most data categories showed fluctuation largely due to temporary data collection and processing delays that caused some subscribers to miss their release dates. Compared with the previous quarter, there were also slippages across most data categories.

Table 2. Monitoring of Observance of the SDDS, December 2001-December 2002
Percentage of Monthly and Quarterly Data Disseminated on Time1
(Quarterly Averages)

Data Categories

Q4/01 (R)

Q3/02 (R)


Monthly and Quarterly Data




Monthly Data




Production index




Consumer prices




Producer prices




Central government operations




Analytical accounts of banking sector




Analytical accounts of central bank




Official reserves




Reserve template




Merchandise trade




Quarterly Data




National accounts












Wages and earnings




Central government debt




Balance of payments




1Number of data categories released on the day announced in the advance release calendar as a percentage of the total number of data categories to be released. (R) = Revised

International Investment Position (IIP) and External Debt Statistics

Following the end of the transition period for the International Investment Position (IIP) statistics in December 2001, IMF staff has been working with SDDS subscribers to ensure that the IIP data and metadata are disseminated according to the requirements of the Standard.2 As of the end of December, 49 of the 51 subscribers disseminated IIP data that meet SDDS requirements, compared to 47 of the 50 subscribers at the end of the previous quarter. The remaining two subscribers—Korea and Malaysia—are using available flexibility options for timeliness, as allowed under the SDDS; they are scheduled to release annual data for 2001 no later than March 2003.

Six subscribers have disseminated data for the new quarterly external debt data category as prescribed under the SDDS on their National Summary Data Pages.3 The transition period for this category does not expire until March 31, 2003.

SDDS Outreach Seminar

An SDDS Outreach Seminar was conducted by the IMF Statistics Department in Athens during October 24–25, 2002. Hosted by the Bank of Greece, the seminar was aimed at potential SDDS subscribers in Central Asia, Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East. The seminar, which is part of an ongoing program to expand SDDS subscription, was attended by 22 representatives from twelve countries, i.e., Armenia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Jordan, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Malta, Morocco, Pakistan, Romania, and Ukraine, as well as several representatives from Greece.

The seminar acquainted potential subscribers with the evolution, requirements, and day-to-day operations of the SDDS, including staff monitoring of observance and enhancements to the DSBB that impact users and subscribers.

The next SDDS Outreach Seminar will be conducted by the IMF Statistics Department at the Center for Latin American Monetary Studies (CEMLA) in Mexico during April 7–11. This seminar will target prospective SDDS subscribers from Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition to covering the range of topics discussed in Athens, the seminar will provide for one-on-one sessions between IMF staff and country representatives on issues specific to each country's subscription.

DSBB Enhancement Project

Work continued on the DSBB enhancement project with a target date of end-February 2003 for a full roll-out of the substantially enhanced user interface. The improved functionality will feature, inter alia, a search and query facility that will enable users to search SDDS metadata based on a number of key concepts that identify the most salient features of each data category. Also, many of the user interfaces for accessing information on the DSBB will be upgraded, including access to information on the advance release calendars. More information on the introduction of these features will be made available as the roll-out date approaches.

The SDDS e-Room—a workspace to promote dialogue and the exchange of views between and among members of the SDDS community—was launched in November 2002. In the coming months a number of discussion topics will be posted, ranging from experiences in implementing new SDDS data categories (i.e., external debt) to the upcoming Fifth Review of the IMF's data standards' initiatives.

1Australia is availing itself of special transitional arrangements approved by the Executive Board under the Third Review for countries implementing accrual accounting for fiscal data.
2The standard calls for the IIP to be compiled in accordance with the fifth edition of the IMF's Balance of Payments Manual and prescribes that assets and liabilities should be classified into direct investment; portfolio investment, showing a breakdown into equity and debt; other investment; and reserves (assets only).
3These subscribers are: Czech Republic, Germany, Hong Kong, SAR, China, Indonesia, Philippines, and Poland.