IMF Publishes Revised Guidelines For Foreign Exchange Reserve Management

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has endorsed the Revised Guidelines for Foreign Exchange Reserve Management. “Application of these guidelines should strengthen the international financial architecture, promote policies and practices that contribute to stability and transparency in the financial sector, and reduce the external vulnerabilities of member countries”, IMF said .

It also noted that the revision of the 2001 Guidelines was triggered by structural changes both in the accumulation of global foreign reserves and in the general financial environment over the past decade and in particular in response to the recent financial crisis.

The 2013 revision of the Guidelines was carried out by the IMF staff, supported by a small Working Group of central banks and monetary authorities from China, India, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, the European Central Bank, and the Bank for International Settlements. Mr. Franco Passacantando, Managing Director at the Bank of Italy, chaired this Working Group. The World Bank acted as reviewer in the process.

The revisions to the Guidelines mainly concentrate on: (i) reserve management objectives and strategy, including analyzing and managing risks in the context of reserve diversification; (ii) transparency and accountability, while avoiding  reserve management decisions being dictated by the prevailing accounting framework; (iii) institutional and organizational framework issues, especially on avoiding possible inconsistencies between reserve management and other central bank operations; and (iv) the risk management framework, including taking into account ex-ante assessments of the impact of reserve investments on financial markets and building internal credit risk assessment systems to assess counterparty risks.

The revised Guidelines will be used by IMF staff to provide a framework for technical assistance and serve as background for discussion in the context of IMF surveillance. It may also be used as reference material by third party consultants and experts dealing with reserve management issues.