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August 04, 2014

IMF Guide on External Debt Statistics

External Debt Statistics

Posted by Rita Mesías[1]

The 2013 EDS Guide[2] is now available in hard copy (see http://www.tffs.org/edsguide.htm). It provides guidance on (1) the concepts, definitions, and classifications; (2) the sources and techniques for compiling; and (3) the analytical uses of external debt statistics (EDS).

The previous international guidance on EDS was provided by the 2003 EDS Guide. The 2013 EDS Guide updates the 2003 EDS Guide to be fully in line with the updated international statistical guidelines for national accounts and balance of payments statistics—the System of National Accounts 2008 (2008 SNA) and the sixth edition of the IMF’s Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual (BPM6), respectively.

The 2013 EDS Guide provides additional conceptual guidance, and new and revised presentation tables, including the debt-service payment schedule, the currency composition of debt, and other series known from experience to be of analytical use. The 2013 EDS Guide also explains the concept of net external debt—i.e., a comparison of the stock of external debt with holdings of external financial assets of similar instrument type—and integrates financial derivatives and contingent liabilities positions into external debt analysis.

While the fundamental definition of external debt has not changed(“gross external debt, at any given time, is the outstanding amount of those actual current, and not contingent, liabilities that require payment(s) of principal and/or interest by the debtor at some point(s) in the future and that are owed to nonresidents by residents of an economy”), a number of modifications in concepts and classification/sectorization, and clarifications to the methodological treatment have been introduced.

The main changes introduced by the 2013 EDS Guide include:

  • Arrears on principal and/or interest payments should be shown in the same original debt instrument until the liability is extinguished. Previously, they were recorded under “other liabilities—short term.”
  • While keeping original maturity as the basis for recording external debt, data on a remaining maturity basis is also emphasized.
  • Emphasis on reporting debt securities at both nominal and market value. The main presentational tables in the 2013 EDS Guide show data on both valuation bases.
  • Institutional sector classification is amended to be consistent with BPM6 (general government; central bank; deposit-taking corporations, except the central bank; and other sectors). Separate identification of direct investment: intercompany lending continues being recommended.
  • Borrowing for fiscal purposes through a nonresident entity owned or controlled by the government should be included in general government and not in direct investment: intercompany lending.
  • Financial instruments classification amended to be consistent with BPM6 (debt securities, loans, currency and deposits, trade credits and advances, special drawing rights (SDRs), and other liabilities).
  • SDR allocations are now included as an external debt liability under general government and/or central bank, as relevant. Guidance on the recording of SDRs in debt-service payment schedule tables is provided. Previously, SDRs were an asset without a corresponding liability.
  • Further presentational tables of EDS were added, including a table on principal and interest payments due in one year or less—by sector, which the IMF recommended in 2010 for dissemination by subscribers to the IMF’s Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS).

Other changes made in the 2013 EDS Guide include three new appendices on the Data Quality Assessment Framework (DQAF) for external debt statistics (Appendix 6); the treatment of arrears (Appendix 7); and private sector external debt (Appendix 8). Three chapters on the work of international organizations have been removed, but updated information has been posted on the TFFS website (http://www.tffs.org/), which will be regularly updated.

The World Bank’s Quarterly External Debt Statistics (QEDS[3]) database—developed in 2004 for SDDS subscribers and extended in 2008 to General Data Dissemination System participants—is being updated in line with the conceptual framework provided in the 2013 EDS Guide. To this end, the World Banks intends to convert the QEDS database in line with the new EDS Guide by end-2014.  

[1] Balance of Payments Division, Statistics Department, IMF.

[2] The 2013 EDS Guide was prepared by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), Commonwealth Secretariat (ComSec), European Central Bank (ECB), European Commission (Eurostat), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Paris Club Secretariat, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and World Bank.

[3] See www.worldbank.org/qeds. Over 100 economies are currently reporting to QEDS. All SDDS subscribers, the Euro Zone, New Zealand, and many GDDS participants are QEDS reporters.


 Note: The posts on the IMF PFM Blog should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy.


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