7 Things You Need to Know about the SDR


Let’s start from the beginning – What is an SDR? Is it money? Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) are an asset, though not money in the classic sense because they can’t be used to buy things. The value of an SDR is based on a basket of the world’s five leading currencies – the US dollar, euro, yuan, yen and the UK pound. The SDR is an accounting unit for IMF transactions with member countries – and a stable asset in countries’ international reserves.

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Q. How many SDRs have been allocated so far?

  • The Fund has allocated a total of SDR 204.2 billion (equivalent to about US$318 billion), including three general allocations and a one-time special allocation. Specifically:
  • SDR 9.3 billion was allocated in yearly installments in 1970–72.
  • SDR 12.1 billion was allocated in yearly installments in 1979–81.
  • SDR 161.2 billion was allocated on August 28, 2009, by far the biggest allocation to date.
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What is the SDR?

Video: Explaining Special Drawing Rights

Factsheet: Special Drawing Rights (SDR) 

The SDR is an international reserve asset, created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement its member countries’ official reserves. So far SDR 204.2 billion (equivalent to about US$293 billion) have been allocated to members, including SDR 182.6 billion allocated in 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis. The value of the SDR is based on a basket of five currencies—the U.S. dollar, the euro, the Chinese renminbi, the Japanese yen, and the British pound sterling.


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SDR Currency Basket

   Currency Weights determined in the 2015 Review Fixed Number of Units of Currency for a 5-year period Starting Oct 1, 2016
  U.S. Dollar 41.73 0.58252
  Euro 30.93 0.38671
  Chinese Yuan 10.92 1.0174
  Japanese Yen 8.33 11.900
  Pound Sterling  8.09 0.085946