For the first time the International Monetary Fund Friday separately identified holdings in the Chinese currency - the renminbi (RMB) or yuan - in its quarterly data on the currency composition of official foreign exchange reserves for the quarter ended December 2016.
COFER is a database managed by the IMF's Statistics Department, containing end-of-period quarterly data of reporting countries or jurisdictions. With the separate identification of reserves in RMB, eight currencies are now distinguished in COFER data. They are the dollar, euro, RMB, Japanese yen, British pound sterling, Australian dollar, Canadian dollar and Swiss franc, according to an IMF press release
All other currencies are included and indistinguishable in the category “other currencies.”
The report shows that claims in RMB were .51 billion, accounting for less than 1.1 percent of the total allocated reserves. Meanwhile, claims in the dollar stood at .05 trillion, accounting for 63.9 percent of the total, higher than the 63.3 percent in the third quarter of the 2016 quarterly report.
The IMF Executive Board agreed in 2016 to modify the COFER survey to allow separate identification of the RMB effective October 1, 2016. This followed its decision to include the RMB in the Special Drawing Right (SDR) basket of currencies as a fifth currency along with the dollar, the euro, Japanese yen, and pound sterling, effective October 1, 2016, according to the IMF.
COFER data are reported to the IMF on a voluntary and confidential basis. At present, there are 146 reporters, consisting of IMF member countries, a number of non-member countries and economies, and other entities holding foreign exchange reserves. COFER data are publicly disseminated on a quarterly frequency in aggregate format so as to safeguard individual country information.