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International Seminar on Timeliness, Methodology amd Comparability of Rapid Estimates of Economic Trends, 27-29 May 2009, Ottawa, Canada Joint WB-IMF Initiative on Quarterly External Debt Statistics. Ibrahim Levent World Bank. Quarterly External Debt Statistics (QEDS).

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Ibrahim Levent World Bank

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International Seminar on Timeliness, Methodology amd Comparability of Rapid Estimates of Economic Trends, 27-29 May 2009, Ottawa, CanadaJoint WB-IMF Initiative on Quarterly External Debt Statistics

Ibrahim Levent

World Bank

Quarterly External Debt Statistics (QEDS)

The Quarterly External Debt Statistics (QEDS) database, jointly developed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, brings together detailed external debt data of countries that subscribe to the IMF’s Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS) and a selected number of countries that participate in the IMF’s General Data Dissemination System (GDDS).

Scope of Bank-IMF project on quarterly debt statistics

The aim of the project is to:

Facilitate the dissemination in standard formats of external debt data published individually by subscribers.

A set of comprehensive debt tables for each subscribing country.

Provide easy access to cross-country quarterly debt data for macroeconomic analysis.

Availability of consistent cross-country information for a large number of countries.

A facility to query and extract data by country, debt indicator, and time period.

Purpose of this seminar

  • Analyst and policy makers urgently need high frequency statistics which are timely, reliable and comparable over time and between countries and regions to monitor the development of the crisis for their synchronized policy actions.


Motivation for QEDS

- In the aftermath of the Asian crisis there was an increased focus on crisis prevention and management.

- With respect to crisis prevention there was a consensus on the need for better financial information.

- Consequently, the TFFS undertook several initiatives to promote better availability of debt data.

- Joint External Debt Statistics (creditor-side data)

- Debt Guide


  • Task Force on Finance Statistics (TFFS)

  • The Task Force on Finance Statistics (TFFS) sets methodological standards for statistics on external debt, and on public debt, both external and domestic; promotes data availability on financial stocks, particularly external debt; encourages internationally accepted statistical practices to enhance data quality; and fosters inter-agency collaboration in statistical capacity building.

  • The TFFS was created in 1992 under the auspices of the United Nations Statistical Commission to take stock of the activities of the international organizations involved in finance statistics and to make recommendations aimed at streamlining their work, in particular to avoid duplication of activities.

  • In the wake of the financial crises of the mid-1990’s, its mandate was broadened in 1998, to coordinate work to improve the methodological soundness, transparency, timeliness, and availability of data on external debt and international reserves. To facilitate access, the data are posted on the Joint External Debt Hub (JEDH).

  • The current members of the TFFS are the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the Commonwealth Secretariat (ComSec), the European Central Bank (ECB), Eurostat, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Paris Club Secretariat, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the World Bank. It is chaired by the Statistics Department of the IMF.


May 2002 TFFS meeting:

- Members address for the first time the need for a centralized database for external debt statistics of SDDS subscribers.

- WB supports establishment of a centralized database; indicates willingness to implement and maintain the database.

Sept 2003 TFFS meeting:

- WB presents a draft proposal for a SDDS-based centralized database. Members support the proposal.

December 2003:

WB and IMF begin collaboration on a project to bring together quarterly debt statistics of SDDS subscribers in a centralized database.

November 2004:

- WB-IMF release the quarterly external debt statistics (QEDS).

November/December 2005:

WB-IMF invite selected non-SDDS subscribers to participate in QEDS.

August 2007:

-WB-IMF invite GDDS countries to participate in QEDS.

February 2008:

QEDS is expanded to General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) countries,

mainly Low-Income Countries (LICs).

Project phases

The project can be viewed as comprised five phases:

Phase I - designing standardized debt data templates for data collection.

Phase II - informing SDDS subscribers about the joint Bank-IMF project; and asking them for comments and their support

also informing some Non-SDDDS countries.

Phase III – developing a data collection tool and implementing data reporting.

Phase IV - disseminating the centralized database.

Phase V- Expansion of the database to GDDS participants.

Phase I – designing debt data templates

A main goal of the joint Bank-IMF project on debt statistics is to facilitate dissemination of debt data in standard formats that are aligned with the model presentations in the External Debt Guide.

Thus, the initial phase of the project focused on designing standard debt tables that could be used for data collection.

Two sets of tables were developed:

- The first set consists of three tables based on the SDDS prescribed external debt data category (table 1) and encouraged debt data categories (tables 2 and 3).

- The second set comprises supplementary tables that go beyond the SDDS to provide further analytical presentations—particularly with respect to sectoral data—and facilitate cross-country data analysis.

Templates for external debt data

SDDS Tables: Prescribed and encouraged items

Table 1: Gross external debt position by sector (prescribed item)

Table 2: Gross external debt position: foreign currency and domestic currency debt (encouraged item)

Table 3: Debt service payment schedule for outstanding external debt (encouraged item)

Templates for external debt data

Supplementary Tables (6)

Table 1.1: Gross external debt position – traded debt instruments (reconciliation between nominal & market value)

Table 1.2: Gross external debt position- other sectors (additional breakdown to table 1)

Table 1.3: Gross external debt position: public sector debt and publicly guaranteed private sector debt (focus on PPG debt)

Table 1.4: Gross external debt position: arrears

Table 2.1: Gross external foreign currency and foreign currency linked debt position

Table 3.1: Gross external debt position: short-term remaining maturity by sector

Phase II – informing SDDS subscribers of project and subscriber responses

In early March 2004, the World Bank and the IMF wrote a letter to SDDS subscribers to inform them of the initiative and to solicit their support.

By the beginning of May, 47 out of 57 SDSS subscribers had responded to the letter.

- Virtually all respondents indicated their willingness to provide Table 1 (gross external debt position by sector).

- 19 countries indicated that they would be able to provide Table 2 (foreign currency and domestic currency external debt split), and seven countries indicated that they could provide Table 3 (debt service payment schedule).

15 countries replied that they would be able to provide at least one of the six supplementary tables, and 20 countries noted that they might be able to provide additional tables subject to resource availability.

Non-SDDS countries invited to participate

Extended the quarterly external debt database to include non-SDDS countries.

There are several non-SDDS countries that are either already producing data according to the methodology of the Debt Guide or have the capacity to produce such data--these countries have comprehensive IIPs.

Several non-SDDS were invited to participate in QEDS – Azerbaijan, Bolivia, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, Yemen.

Address the issue of greater availability of data from SDDS countries.

While all participating countries are providing data for table 1 of the template, data provision for other tables is mixed.

Phase III – data collection

To facilitate data collection the Bank developed a data collection tool based on tables 1-3 as well as the accompanying supplementary tables.

The data collection tool also incorporated essential features such as data exchange methods, validation rules, and reporting currency option.

The approach on data exchange methods was to accommodate the specific situation of each country, as well as adapt to future improvements in data exchange standards.

-The standard method of data exchange involves directly collecting data from countries in Excel format.

- Over the medium term, the data collection process is likely to change so that data can be obtained from countries’ web sites based on SDMX standards (www.sdmx.org).

Country A

Country A (Web)

Cross- Country Database

Dissemination of cross-cty data

Country B

Country B (Web)

Country C

Country C (Web)


Country (Web)

Data collection system now and in the medium term

Data collection Data collection

in the near termin the medium term

Data collected Data to be obtained World Bank

directly from from country

country web site

Phase IV – data dissemination

The Bank developed a data dissemination tool, the key features of which are:

Country tables – show the quarterly external debt of a country.

Cross-country tables – facilitates country comparisons and analysis by providing direct access to pre-formatted tables.

A query tool for data retrieval – allows users to extract data in different ways.

Current Reporters

  • Currently, 58 SDDS subscribing countries and three GDDS countries have agreed to participate in the SDDS/QEDS database. 25 countries provide Table 2 (foreign currency and domestic currency external debt split), 10 provide Table 3 (debt service payment schedule), 26 countries provide at least one of the six supplementary tables.

Phase V -Extending QEDS to GDDS participants

The initiative focuses on the Capacity of LICs to produce

high frequency data.

  • The database was expanded to General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) countries on February 27, 2008 mainly Low-Income Countries (LICs).

    - Required items for participation—public and publicly-guaranteed external debt position data broken down by maturity.

    -Encouraged items are in line with the GDDS including external debt-service payment schedule, creditor sector information, and the external debt position data broken by type of instrument.

Phase V -Extending QEDS to GDDS participants

  • Needed to identify a priority list of countries for the initial phase of the project—essentially 27 post-completion point HIPCs and other countries such as Angola and Nigeria that are attracting foreign capital from the list of 77 LICs that subscribe to the Fund’s General Data Dissemination Standards. At the next phase, all LICs were invited.

  • Initially 14, currently 21 Low-Income Countries (LICs) agreed to provide data to the GDDS/QEDS database.

    • The initiative responds to the need for timely and high-quality external debt data for LICs in the context of the debt sustainability framework for these countries (see the Joint IMF/WB paper on Application of the Debt Sustainability Framework for Low-Income Countries Post Debt Relief).

  • Key phases of the project – designed the external debt data template; informed low-income country authorities of the initiative and asked them for their comments and support; developed the data collection tool; and started to disseminate the QEDS data for LICs.

Phase V -Extending QEDS to GDDS participants Templates for external debt data

  • GDDS Tables: Prescribed and encouraged items

    • Table 1: Gross External Debt Position: Public and Publicly-Guaranteed Debt (prescribed)

      Data for the memorandum item in Table 1 (nonguaranteed private sector external debt) are not required for participation, although—if available—data are encouraged to be disseminated at least once yearly.

    • Table 2: Debt-Service Payment Schedule for Public and Publicly-Guaranteed External Debt as of End-Period (encouraged item)

    • Table 3: Public and Publicly-Guaranteed External Debt: Creditor Sector Information (encouraged item)

    • Table 4: Gross External Debt Position: Public and Publicly- Guaranteed Debt by Instrument Breakdown (encouraged item)

Low-Income Countries

  • Bolivia reports under both SDDS and GDDS category

  • Georgia committed to report under GDDS and also reported under SDDS

  • Paraguay reports to QEDS under SDDS

  • Yemen was invited to participate in QEDS under SDDS and GDDS. Currently, reports under GDDS.

The Joint External Debt Hub (JEDH)

  • Jointly developed by the Bank for International Settlement, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank (WB)—brings together quarterly external debt data and selected foreign assets from international creditor/market and national debtor sources.

  • www.jedh.org (powered by SDMX)

JEHD extension

  • The creditor/market tables have been extended to incorporate additional information;

  • - data on insured export credit exposures are now available. Following extensive work with the BIS, the Berne Union (International Union of Credit and Investment Insurers) provides quarterly data collected from its members for dissemination on the JEDH, as supplementary information to other data collected from creditor or market sources.

  • - the creditor/market tables now display “Total liabilities to BIS reporting banks” both for the locational and the consolidated statistics, as in the previous table of the Joint BIS-IMF-OECD-World Bank website.

  • Metadata can now be accessed directly by clicking on the corresponding lines of the creditor/market tables.


  • Thank you.

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