China Agrees to Release IMF Article IV Report

29 July 2010

China has permitted disclosure of the so-called Article IV “staff report” prepared by the International Monetary Fund.

Last year, China declined to allow release  of the 2009 staff report,  This was a change, because China had permitted release of the 2006 report.

Article IV reviews are usually conducted every year and the comprehensive staff reports summarize the economic conditions in member countries.  No Article IV reviews for China were conducted in 2007 and 2008, according to the IMF’s Article IV list.

Under IMF rules, member governments may veto the release of the full report, but slightly more than 80 percent of the governments permit the disclosure.  

The Fund usually releases a Public Information Notice at the conclusions of the Article IV reviews that summarizes the findings, even if the government blocks access to the full report. The IMF posted the China report July 29.

One footnote was deleted from the report, according to media articles, such as one in The Washington Post by Howard Schneider which noted:

But the evaluation avoided specifics. According to reports in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere, the IMF staff deleted a footnote estimating the undervaluation at as much as 25 percent. IMF China mission chief Nigel Chalk said that as a rule, he “doesn’t like” precise estimates when they involve an economy changing as quickly as China’s.

Under IMF policy, deletions may be made in a staff report at the request of the subject government, if the material is deemed market sensitive.  About 10 percent of the published reports have some material deleted. Whether deletions have been made in any particular staff report is not revealed, however.

The latest IMF tables on implementation of its disclosure policy, dated Feb. 23, 2009, indicate that the publication rate of the Article IV reports was 82 percent in 2008, 82 percent in 2007, and 83 percent in 2006, according to IMF figures. A new report is expected in about a month.

Table 3.1 in the Fund’s annual report indicates who did not allow disclosure of the staff report.

The most recent list includes: Angola, Bosnia, Brazil, Brunei, Djibouti, Gabon, Guatemala, India, Lesotho, Namibia, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo and Turkmenistan.

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed under: IFTI Watch, Uncategorized

ABOUT 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).
Contact: freeinfo@gwu.edu or
1-(703) 276-7748