China's decision to observe IMF data standards benefits economy: experts

BEIJING, Nov. 16 -- China's decision to observe the Special Data Dissemination Standards (SDDS) of the International Money Fund (IMF) will help its economy and improve transparency, economists said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced Saturday at the Group of Twenty Summit that China has decided to switch to the SDDS of the IMF from the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS).

The GDDS applies to all IMF members while the SDDS applies to those member countries having or seeking access to international markets.

To date, there have been 71 subscriptions to the SDDS.

Hung Tran, executive managing director of the Institute of International Finance, said the switch will enhance the availability of timely and comprehensive economic and financial data, thus contributing to sound macroeconomic policy and better access to international capital markets.

He also believed that China's decision to release data about oil regularly would help markets process supply and demand data efficiently, avoiding surprises which can lead to market volatility.

David Dollar, a senior scholar with Brookings Institution, noted that well-functioning markets depend on good information.

"China's decision to meet the IMF's Special Data Dissemination Standards and to publish data on stockpiles of oil will make currency and commodity markets operate more efficiently. It is an important step for the world's second largest economy," he told Xinhua.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde welcomed China's decision, saying that the practice will greatly enhance the availability of timely and comprehensive economic and financial data.

"I appreciate China's commitment to improve the dissemination of statistics and note the progress that has been made in recent years," she said.

"China's intention to graduate from the GDDS to the SDDS is the next significant step in this process," Lagarde said in a statement Saturday.