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China adopts IMF statistical benchmark, improves transparency

Updated: Oct 8,2015 1:57 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China’s official statistics will conform to the Special Data Dissemination Standards (SDDS), a statistical system created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to improve transparency, the central bank has announced.

With approval from the State Council, China’s cabinet, People’s Bank of China (PBOC) Governor Zhou Xiaochuan informed IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde of China’s decision, the central bank announced on Oct 8.

Since 2002, China has used the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS), which the IMF set up in December 1997 to provide a framework for countries to adapt and improve their statistical systems.

The GDDS applies to all IMF members, while the SDDS applies to member countries that have or are seeking access to international markets.

The SDDS was started by the IMF in 1996 to help it gain access to regular economic and financial statistics and assist participating countries in crafting updated economic policies and gaining access to financial markets.

President Xi Jinping promised last November at the Brisbane G20 Summit that China would switch to the SDDS.

In the past year, China’s central economic agencies, including the National Bureau of Statistics, the PBOC and the Ministry of Finance, have worked to meet the IMF’s SDDS statistics requirements.

The adoption of SDDS is a necessary step in reform and opening up, which will further improve China’s statistical transparency, credibility and comparability among different economies, the PBOC said.

On Oct 7 in Peruvian capital Lima, PBOC Deputy Governor Yi Gang and David Lipton, first deputy managing director of the IMF, attended a ceremony to celebrate China’s adoption of the SDDS.

At the ceremony, Yi said China and the IMF have been working together to improve China’s statistics for many years, and subscribing to the SDDS is another milestone in the collaboration.

“We are committed to strengthening our statistical system and enhancing transparency, as this is not only crucial for our own policymaking, but also beneficial for a better understanding of the Chinese economy by the outside world,” Yi said.

The IMF welcomed the move, calling it “an important advance.” Lipton said adhering to the SDDS shows “China’s strong commitment to transparency as well as to the adoption of international best practices in statistics.”

The United States also welcomed China’s commitment to release economic data in accordance with the SDDS by the end of the year and China’s continued efforts to enhance transparency.

China recognizes the importance to successful RMB internationalization of meeting the transparency standards of other major reserve currencies.

The consensus between the world’s top two economies was one of important results arising from President Xi’s state visit to the US late last month.

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