SDRs Special Drawing Rights

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Quotas
Quota subscriptions are central to the IMF's financial resources. Each member country of the IMF is assigned a quota, based broadly on its relative position in the world economy. A member country's quota determines its maximum financial commitment to the IMF, its voting power, and has a bearing on its access to IMF financing.
When a country initially joined the IMF, it was assigned a quota in the same range as the quotas of existing members of broadly comparable economic size and characteristics. The IMF used a quota formula to help assess a member's relative position.

From 1944-1978 it paid the IMF with gold, and since 1978 with currencies like the US dollar, euro, UK pound, yen and yuan. Valued in SDRs (Special Drawing Rights).

Click here for its current value in terms of US dollars, SDR to USD $1.36

Australian Government Quota (our maximum commitment) 6.572 billion SDRs which is 1.38% of total of 476 billion SDRs.

Allocations and Holdings
SDRs act somewhat like a "pseudo currency", international reserves that are only acceptable for settling the balance of payments between members at favorable interest rates.

"Allocations" are recorded as the incurrence of a liability of the member receiving them, with "Holdings" subsequently recorded as an asset. The membership of the SDR Department incurs the asset and liability position among themselves, not with the IMF. The IMF's SDR Department keeps records of allocations (to members) and holdings of SDRs by members and prescribed holders. The SDR Department is also the channel through which all transactions and operations involving SDRs are conducted.

The IMF members that hold SDRs can exchange them for freely usable currencies by either agreeing among themselves to voluntary swaps, or by the IMF instructing countries with stronger economies or larger foreign currency reserves to buy SDRs from the less-endowed members, increasing the SDR holding of the stronger member and reducing the SDR holding of the less-endowed member.

When Holdings exceed Allocations, net interest is received, when it is less, net interest is charged.

How many SDRs have been allocated?

  1. SDR 9.3 billion was allocated in yearly installments in 1970–72.
  2. SDR 12.1 billion was allocated in yearly installments in 1979–81.

    IMF figures as at 31st May 1984

  3. SDR 161.2 billion was allocated on August 28, 2009. This general SDR allocation was by far the biggest allocation to date.
  4. SDR 21.5 billion was allocated on September 9, 2009, bringing total cumulative allocations to about SDR 204 billion (equivalent to about US$318 billion).

    IMF figures as at 31st December 2020

    Australian Allocation from the IMF at 31st December 2020 is 3.083 billion SDRs.

    Australian RBA Holding (same day, from having bought additional SDRs) is 3.118 billion SDRs.

    At the bottom of the screen, a grand total of 204.197 billion SDRs which balances allocations and holdings.

Glossary of IMF Statistics, including a definition of General Resources Account.

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