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Special drawing rights

Special drawing rights (abbreviated SDR, ISO 4217 currency code XDR (numeric: 960)) are supplementary foreign exchange reserve assets defined and maintained by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). SDRs are units of account for the IMF, and not a currency per se. They instead represent a claim to currency held by IMF member countries for which they may be exchanged. SDRs were created in 1969 to supplement a shortfall of preferred foreign exchange reserve assets, namely gold and U.S. dollars.

SDRs are allocated by the IMF to countries, and cannot be held or used by private parties. The number of SDRs in existence was around XDR 21.4 billion in August 2009. During the global financial crisis of 2009, an additional XDR 182.6 billion was allocated to "provide liquidity to the global economic system and supplement member countries’ official reserves". By October 2014, the number of SDRs in existence was XDR 204 billion.

The value of a SDR is based on a basket of key international currencies reviewed by IMF every five years. The weights assigned to each currency in the XDR basket are adjusted to take into account their current prominence in terms of international trade and national foreign exchange reserves. In the review conducted in November 2015, the IMF decided that the Renminbi (Chinese yuan) would be added to the basket effective 1 October 2016. From that date, the XDR basket now consists of the following five currencies: U.S. dollar 41.73%, euro 30.93%, renminbi (Chinese yuan) 10.92%, Japanese yen 8.33%, British pound 8.09%.

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