The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will separately identify the renminbi (RMB) in its official foreign exchange reserves database starting October 1, 2016. The change will be reflected in the survey for the fourth quarter of 2016 that will be published at the end of March 2017.
The survey, known as COFER (Currency Composition of Official Foreign Exchange Reserves), lists, on a voluntary basis, the currency composition of holdings of foreign exchange reserves across the IMF membership in the form of statistical aggregates. The separate identification of the RMB implies that, as of that date, IMF member countries will be able to record as official reserves their holdings of RMB−denominated external assets that are readily available for meeting balance of payments financing needs. The renminbi will join the group of currencies that are currently identified in the survey: U.S. dollar, Euro, Yen, Pound Sterling, Swiss Franc, Australian Dollar, and Canadian Dollar. All other currencies are listed together.
When the IMF Executive Board determined the RMB to be a freely usable currency and decided to include it in the basket of currencies that make up the Special Drawing Right (SDR), effective October 1, 2016, it underscored the importance of making efforts to address remaining data gaps, including in the currency coverage of the COFER survey, ahead of the next SDR review.
On February 26, 2016, the Board agreed to make the change in COFER effective October 1, 2016, thus providing the lead time necessary for COFER survey respondents to adjust to the change.
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