SDR Weighting, Not So Much About USD as JPY

A little more than a year ago the PBOC governor proposed a supra-national reserve asset, like the IMF's Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to supplant the role of the US dollar. While the proposal does not appear to be the basis of recent G20 discussions, the topic continues to capture the imagination of market participants.

Every five years the IMF reviews the composition and weights of the SDR. Late yesterday the IMF announced its adjustments. China's yuan, despite efforts to internationalize its use, remains inconvertible and it may be disappointing to some, but perfectly understandable that the yuan is not included in he SDR basket. The dollar's weight in the SDR was cut to 41.9% from 44%. Some will see this as a further sign of the declining significance of the dollar. Yet that might not be the real signal. Taking a longer term view, for example, the dollar's weight in the SDR in 1996 was 39%.

The Deutschemark and French together had a weighting of 32%. The euro's weighting was increased to 37.4% starting next year from 34%. Initially (2001) the euro's weighting was less than the combined DEM and FRF weighting and ever since every 5-year evaluation has seen an increase in the euro weighting.

However, as we have pointed when looking at the IMF's reserve data (COFER) that to the extent there has been a meaningful shift it seems that it not so much at the dollar's expense as it is the yen's. The yen's weighting in the SDR was cut to 9.4% from 11%. In 1996 it was 18%. Sterling weighting remains essentially unchanged at 11.3% from 11%. In 1996, it was also at 11%.
SDR Weighting, Not So Much About USD as JPY SDR Weighting, Not So Much About USD as JPY Reviewed by Marc Chandler on November 16, 2010 Rating: 5
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