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Methodological Notes to International Reserves Statistics of the Russian Federation

General provisions

The 6th Edition of the IMF’s Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual (BPM6) sets the underlying conceptual and methodological framework for the compilation of data on international reserves. The main data templates are elaborated in accordance with the IMF’s International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity: Guidelines for a Data Template (2012).

The international reserves (reserve assets) of the Russian Federation are highly liquid external assets that are readily available to the Russian monetary authorities: the Bank of Russia and the Government of the Russian Federation.

The international reserves include those external assets that are readily available to and controlled by monetary authorities for meeting balance of payments financing needs, for intervention in foreign exchange markets to affect the currency exchange rate, and for other related purposes (such as maintaining confidence in the national currency and economy, and serving as a basis for foreign borrowing). Reserve assets must be actually existing assets denominated in freely usable currencies. Furthermore, international reserves may include assets in the form of SDR holdings and monetary gold.

Structure and overview of selected items

The international reserves consist of monetary gold, special drawing rights (SDR) holdings, reserve position in the IMF, and other reserve assets.

Monetary gold is defined as standard gold bars and coins with a purity of at least 995/1,000 held by the Bank of Russia and the Government of the Russian Federation. It comprises gold in vault, in transit and in allocated accounts, including that which is held abroad. The item monetary gold includes unallocated gold accounts representing claims on nonresidents.

Special drawing rights (SDRs) are international reserve assets created by the IMF to supplement its member-states’ official reserves. SDRs are allocated to its member-states pro rata their quotas basis1 and are kept on the accounts maintained for each member country in the Fund’s SDR Department.

Reserve position in the IMF is the sum of the reserve tranche position (representing foreign exchange component of the quota of the Russian Federation in the Fund) and the country’s claims on the IMF under the General Arrangements to Borrow and the New Arrangements to Borrow.

The item other reserve assets includes foreign currency in cash; balances in nostro accounts; deposits with the initial maturity of up to 1 year in foreign national banks, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and nonresident deposit-taking corporations; debt securities issued by nonresidents; loans extended under reverse repos, and other financial claims on nonresidents with the initial maturity of up to 1 year.

Securities provided to counterparties under securities lending transactions are recorded in the international reserves, whereas securities that serve as collateral under repurchase agreements are excluded therefrom. Securities received as collateral under reverse repos or under securities lending agreements (received in exchange for other securities) are not included in the international reserves.

The part of the resources of the sovereign funds of the Russian Federation, which are deposited by the Government of the Russian Federation on the accounts with the Bank of Russia, denominated in foreign currency and invested by the Bank of Russia in foreign financial assets, are included in the international reserves of the Russian Federation.

Foreign currency claims of the Bank of Russia and the Government of the Russian Federation on residents are not included into the international reserves of the Russian Federation.

Transactions are recorded as of the value date with interest accrued. For corresponding reporting dates reserve assets are evaluated at current foreign exchange rates and market prices. Values are converted to the US dollars on the base of official exchange rates of foreign currencies to the Russian ruble and gold reference prices set by the Bank of Russia as effective on the reporting date.

Data Templates

The statistical data on the international reserves of the Russian Federation are compiled and disseminated in several templates pursuing different analytical goals.

International Reserves of the Russian Federation reflect the general dynamics of reserve assets and their main components as of the end of each month.

International Investment Position on International Reserves of the Russian Federation enables users to determine links between the stocks of reserve assets as of certain dates and flows of these assets within the reporting period as well as to estimate the influence of revaluations and other changes.

International Reserves and Other Foreign Currency Liquidity of the Russian Federation represents the structure and the volume of resources of the country’s official authorities in foreign currency (including SDRs and monetary gold), including holdings in the form of different financial instruments.

Evaluation of the pending changes in the Data Template on International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity of the Russian Federation presents a complex framework for the dissemination of data on foreign currency resources of the official authorities as of the base date, describes the future and potential financial inflows and outflows of foreign currency within the next 12 months.

Changes in the Methodology of Statistical Compilation of International Reserves of the Russian Federation

Date Change Description
since 31.07.1998 Gold deposited in unallocated gold accounts is included in international reserves nominated in foreign currencies.
since 31.08.1999 An adjustment to gross international reserves is introduced to reduce the amount of foreign currency reserves: i) by the amount of the Bank of Russia’s assets held in nonresident banks, where the Bank of Russia has equity participation, and ii) by the amount equivalent to the balances in foreign currencies held on correspondent accounts of resident banks with the Bank of Russia, exclusive of the funds provided to the Russian state development corporation Vnesheconombank (current name is VEB.RF) for sovereign external debt service and repayment.
after 30.06.2002 International reserves are decreased by exclusion of the amount of funds received by the Bank of Russia under repurchase agreements (since 30.09.2002 — by exclusion of the amount of securities provided as collateral under repo agreements).
since 31.12.2005 Monetary gold is valued at current reference prices set by the Bank of Russia (until 31.12.2005 the valuation was performed at the price of 300 US dollars per fine troy ounce).
since 31.12.2007
  • ·Securities of international reserves are recorded at market values (until 31.12.2007 — at amortized values).
  • The amendment effective since 31.08.1999 has been abolished. The Bank of Russia resigned from the shareholders of nonresident banks in 2005. Since 31.12.2007 the amount equivalent to the balances in foreign currencies held on correspondent accounts of resident banks with the Bank of Russia has not been excluded from international reserves.
  • The exclusion from foreign currency reserves of securities transferred to nonresidents under interrelated repos is discontinued, and simultaneously the Bank of Russia discontinued recording the claims on nonresidents under interrelated reverse repos in reserve assets.
since 31.12.2009 Gold coins with a purity of at least 995/1,000 are included in monetary gold.
since 30.09.2016
  • Due to the inclusion of the Chinese renminbi in the category of freely usable currencies and in the SDR basket, assets and transactions in this currency are accounted for as a part of the international reserves of the Russian Federation.
  • The amendment in effect since 31.07.1998 has been revoked. Gold in unallocated gold accounts is included in monetary gold.
  • Within the general framework of the implementation of the best practices for the international classification of the components of reserve assets the revaluation of monetary gold caused by the changes in the dollar equivalent of the current reference prices set by the Bank of Russia is recorded in the column “Other price changes”, and not in the column “Exchange rate changes” as previously (the historical data are adjusted as per the current conceptual and methodological framework).


1 Upon joining the IMF, each country is assigned a quota, which is generally based on its relative position in the global economy and indicates its maximum financial liability to the IMF. The quota also determines the number of votes a country has in the IMF, as a whole serves as the basis for access to the IMF financing and determines the share in the distribution of SDRs.

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Last updated on: 17.06.2021