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Access limits govern use of resources

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Published Date:
January 1999
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The rules governing access to the IMF’s general resources apply uniformly to all members. Access is determined primarily by a member’s balance of payments need, the strength of its adjustment policies, and its ability to repay the IMF. With the exception of access under the Supplemental Reserve Facility (SRF) and the Contingent Credit Lines (CCL), annual and cumulative access limits under other facilities and policies are set in proportion to members’ quotas. The Executive Board reviews the access limits annually in light of, among other considerations, the extent of members’ payments problems and developments in the IMF’s liquidity.

The IMF’s current policies on access reflect the Board’s decision in 1994 to raise, for three years, the annual access limit in the credit tranches and under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) to 100 percent of quota from 68 percent and to keep the cumulative access limit the same at 300 percent of quota. In January 1999, in connection with the quota increase under the Eleventh General Review, the Board decided that the annual and cumulative limits under the credit tranches and the EFF would remain unchanged in percent of quota, effectively raising them by about 45 percent in SDR terms. When the quota increase took effect, access to additional resources under Stand-By or Extended Arrangements in support of operations to reduce debt and debt service was reduced to 20 percent from 30 percent of quota. The amount that could be set aside under a Stand-By or an Extended Arrangement for the same purpose was reduced to 15 percent from about 25 percent of actual access under the arrangement. These limits may be exceeded in exceptional cases.

Access Limits(percent of member’s quota)
Stand-By and Extended Arrangements1
Annual100
Cumulative300
Special Facilities
Buffer Stock Financing Facilitynone
Compensatory and Contingency
Financing Facility
Export earnings shortfall220
Excess cereal import costs210
Contingency financing20
Optional tranche15
Buffer Stock Financing Facility25
Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility1
Three-year access
Regular140
Exceptional185

Under exceptional circumstances, these limits may be exceeded.

When a member has a satisfactory balance of payments position except for the effect of an export earnings shortfall or an excess in cereal import costs, a limit of 45 percent of quota applies to either the export earnings shortfall or the excess cereal import costs, with a joint limit of 55 percent.

Under exceptional circumstances, these limits may be exceeded.

When a member has a satisfactory balance of payments position except for the effect of an export earnings shortfall or an excess in cereal import costs, a limit of 45 percent of quota applies to either the export earnings shortfall or the excess cereal import costs, with a joint limit of 55 percent.

At the same time, the Board reexamined the access limits under the Compensatory and Contingency Financing Facility (CCFF), the Buffer Stock Financing Facility (BSFF), and the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF). Pending a more thorough review, the Board decided to reduce the access limits under these three facilities in percent of quota to keep them broadly constant in SDR terms. The current overall access limit is 65 percent of a member’s quota under the CCFF and 25 percent of quota under the BSFF. Under the ESAF, an eligible member may borrow up to 140 percent of its quota under a three-year arrangement, although this limit may be increased, under exceptional circumstances, to 185 percent.

Drawings under the SRF are made in the context of a Stand-By or an Extended Arrangement, but are not subject to a specific access limit. Drawings under the CCL are made in the context of a Stand-By Arrangement and are also not subject to a specific access limit, but are expected to be in the range of 300–500 percent of quota.

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