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Template on international reserves and foreign currency liquidity

Background

European Central Bank Eurosystem
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The template contains aggregated data on the international reserves and foreign currency liquidity of the ECB and the countries that had adopted the euro at the time to which the information refers.

With few exceptions, the template conforms to the International Monetary Fund’s guidelines for a data template on international reserves and foreign currency liquidity.

Section I.A of the template shows official reserve assets of the euro area, which are highly liquid, marketable and creditworthy claims, held by the ECB ("pooled reserves") and the national central banks ("unpooled reserve assets"), on non-residents of the euro area and denominated in foreign currency (i.e. in currencies other than the euro), plus gold, reserve positions in the IMF and holdings of special drawing rights (SDRs).

Section I.B covers other assets of the ECB and the euro area national central banks denominated in foreign currency and readily available upon demand but not included in the category of official reserve assets (e.g. foreign currency claims on residents of the euro area and foreign currency claims on non-residents of the euro area resulting from monetary policy operations).

Sections II and III show, respectively, predetermined and contingent short-term liabilities and claims that are insufficiently liquid to be considered in Section I. They comprise financial instruments denominated in foreign currency and with a remaining maturity of less than one year; the residency of the counterpart is not relevant.

Section IV comprises additional information deemed relevant for assessing risk exposure in foreign exchange but not covered in Sections I-III. Additional details on instruments shown in the preceding sections are also presented. The external reserves are broken down into those denominated in currencies included in the SDR basket (US dollar, Japanese yen, Chinese renminbi and pound sterling) and those denominated in other currencies; the breakdown is published quarterly, four months after the reference period. In addition, the details of the currency composition of the ECB's reserve assets are published annually at the end of April for the end of the previous year.

Valuation

Instruments in Section I (I.A and I.B) are valued on the basis of market prices (including interest accrued and not yet paid). Holdings of reserve assets, including gold, are valued using closing mid-market prices at the end of the appropriate period and converted into euro using the closing mid-market exchange rates prevailing on the last day of the reference period. Sections II and III show foreign exchange commitments which will/may give rise to receipts and payments in the coming year when the relevant contracts mature. In Section IV, both nominal values and market values are used, as specified in the heading of each sub-category.

These valuation practices are consistent with international statistical standards and hence are not fully coincident with accounting valuation rules.

Classifications

The methodology applied conforms to the guidelines provided by the IMF for the implementation of the template on international reserves and foreign currency liquidity, with the exception of the treatment of claims arising from reverse repos vis-à-vis national central banks or private financial institutions, which are considered collateralised deposits and therefore classified under Currency and deposits instead of under Other reserve assets.

Regarding other items in Section I.A, holdings of monetary gold remain are not impacted by reversible gold transactions (gold swaps, repos, loans and deposits).

In accordance with IMF's guidelines, claims on the IMF arising from IMF financing under the New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB) and the General Arrangements to Borrow (GAB) are classified under Reserve position in the IMF, whereas claims arising from the use of the IMF's Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) Trust Loan Account are recorded under Other reserve assets/loans to non-bank non-residents. Countries' commitments to the ESAF Trust Loan Account not yet drawn are not reported in Section III of the template.

Foreign currency-denominated securities repo transactions (including repos, securities lending and sell/buy-back transactions) are treated as collateralised loans in line with international statistical standards. The securities received or delivered as collateral are therefore not included or subtracted from the securities holdings.

Deposits and loans are classified according to the economic nature of the counterparty. Transactions in which the counterparty is a national central bank or any other monetary financial institution are recorded as foreign exchange/currency and deposits, whereas transactions with any other counterparty are classified as loans and recorded under Other reserve assets.

Asset and liability positions in financial derivatives falling into the category of official reserve assets are netted out and classified under Other reserve assets/financial derivatives. Assets and liabilities are not recorded separately.

Finally, short and long positions in forwards and futures in foreign currency, which are included in Section II of the ECB template, comprise both cross-currency transactions and transactions involving the euro.

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