IMF Registers Slight Improvement in Disclosure of Article IV Reports

1 July 2004

Slight progress was made during 2006 toward increasing the number of countries willing to disclose the key analytical report on their country prepared by the International Monetary Fund, according to a recent IMF report.

The figures show that 15 percent of the countries whose Article IV and/or Use of Fund Resources reports were reviewed by the IMF board opted against disclosure. This choice, made by 16 of 182 countries, is allowed under IMF rules.

The IMF has sought to encourage voluntary disclosure, and the disclosure percentage has crept up: 77 percent in 2004, 82 percent in 2005, and 85 percent in 2006. (See previous reports.)

The institution continues to decline to list the countries that prefer secrecy, having decided several years ago to not engage in a “name and shame” approach. However, a chart of disclosure by regions indicates as it has before that the countries least likely to disclose are in the Middle East, where only 64 percent of the reports were published. Advanced economies all release their Article IV and UFR reports, but the disclosure rate drops to 83 percent and 82 percent respectively for the emerging market and developing country categories.

The IMF report also indicates that little progress is being made toward the release of more monitoring reports, such as the Report on Observance of Standards and Codes or the Joint Staff Assessment documents. ROSCs were released 74 percent of the time in 2006, and the JSAs were disclosed 84 percent of the time.

On another statistical front, the average lag time for publication has remained static, running at 38 days after board review.

The use of deletions in the published version of the reports, also allowed under IMF rules, went up slightly in 2006 after having dipped down in 2005. The IMF table indicates that 17 reports, 10 percent of the total, were published with deletions, most dealing with material concerning exchange rates or financial sector issues.

The IMF is scheduled to review its disclosure rules in 2008.

By Toby McIntosh

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Filed under: IFTI Watch


In this column, Washington, D.C.-based journalist Toby J. McIntosh reports on the latest developments in information disclosure in International Financial and Trade Institutions (IFTI).
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