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Home > Statistics > Explanatory Notes - UK International Reserves

Explanatory Notes - UK International Reserves


These comprise foreign currency reserves, gold, special drawing rights (SDRs) and other reserve assets held in the Exchange Equalisation Account (EEA), together with the UK's reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  Assets of HM Government held in the EEA do not include Bank of England (BoE) assets.  Data on BoE holdings are detailed in Table D5.1.


Around half of the monthly data series are available from July 1999; the remainder are available from February 1996.  Publication of data will usually occur on the 21st working day of the month in Tables D4.1 and D5.1 in Bankstats (Monetary and Financial Statistics) with the most recent month available in the publication for the first month after the end of the month.


The data are held by the Markets division of the Bank of England.


Foreign currency reserves comprise currency and deposits (held with monetary authorities and banks), securities (equities, bonds, notes and money market instruments) and other claims.

Also included are foreign currency holdings on account of nostro and call accounts and claims on counterparties on account of reverse repo transactions.

Other reserve assets comprise of foreign currency forwards, swap positions and reverse repo claims on counterparties.

Negative values correspond to future outflows of foreign currency.

Short-term refers to loans with a maturity of up to and including one year; medium and long term refers to loans with maturity greater than one year.

A reserve position represents an automatic drawing right on the IMF and equals the amount that the UK quota exceeds holdings of sterling by the IMF.  Apart from UK drawings/repurchases, it will rise or fall as other countries draw sterling from (or repay sterling to) the IMF.  Other claims on the IMF - such as the General Arrangements to Borrow and the New Arrangements to Borrow would also be included here.  These data were previously published in Table 1.2J in the Office for National Statistics (ONS) publication Financial Statistics, and are now available on the IADB.

Within Balance of Payments reserves appear in the 'reserve assets' section of the quarterly 'International Investment Position' published by the ONS.

The underlying change in the reserves reflects transactions for monetary authorities, including foreign exchange transactions comprising a range of financial instruments.  These consist of various types of deposits and securities, transactions over the IMF reserve tranche position, IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), gold and other reserve assets (which include repurchase agreements and derivatives).

Valuation and Breaks

UK reserves are marked-to-market using end-period market prices and exchange rates.