IMF to identify RMB in its foreign exchange reserves database

Xinhua News Agency


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Friday that it will separately identify the Chinese currency, Renminbi (RMB), in its quarterly survey of the composition of foreign exchange reserves (COFER) from Oct. 1 this year, .

Currently, the currencies identified in COFER are the U.S. dollar, the pound sterling, the Japanese yen, the Swiss franc, the Canadian dollar, the Australian dollar and the euro.

This move recognizes the continuing internationalization of the RMB, facilitated by China's reforms to promote a more market-based economy, the IMF said in a statement.

It means that IMF members could record their holdings of RMB-denominated official reserves as from Oct. 1 in the COFER survey.

The COFER lists the currency composition of holdings of foreign exchange reserves across the IMF members in the form of statistical aggregates. The IMF publishes the COFER data quarterly and its members voluntarily participate in the COFER survey. COFER data for individual countries are kept confidential given its sensitive nature.

When the IMF's executive board determined the RMB to be a freely usable currency and decided to include the RMB in the Special Drawing Right (SDR) basket last November, they also underscored the importance of making efforts to address remaining data gaps ahead of the next SDR review.

The IMF board on Feb. 26 agreed to identify the RMB in the COFER survey in order to address data gaps.

The first batch of data with a separate identification for RMB-denominated reserves will be published at the end of March 2017, said the IMF.

As the foreign reserves listed in the COFER survey do not include holdings of the currency of the issuing country, the RMB assets of China's central bank are not foreign reserves and therefore are not included in COFER, according to the IMF.

China reported its foreign reserve portfolio to the IMF for the first time last September, in an effort to improve its data disclosure transparency.