IMF to identify yuan in foreign exchange reserves database

Washington, March 5 (IANS) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced it will separately identify the Chinese yuan in its quarterly survey of the composition of foreign exchange reserves (COFER) from October 1.

Currently, the currencies identified in COFER are the US dollar, the pound sterling, the Japanese yen, the Swiss franc, the Canadian dollar, the Australian dollar and the euro, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

This move recognises the continuing internationalisation of the yuan, facilitated by China’s reforms to promote a more market-based economy, the IMF said on Friday.

It means that IMF members could record their holdings of yuan-denominated official reserves as 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.

When the IMF’s executive board determined the yuan to be a freely usable currency and decided to include it 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 February 26 agreed to identify the yuan in the COFER survey in order to address data gaps.

The first batch of data with a separate identification for yuan-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 yuan 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.

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