What is a Special Drawing Right (SDR)?

Protocol (SDR Protocol) amending the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law relating to Bills of Lading of 25 August 1924 (The Hague Rules) as amended by the Protocol of 23 February 1968 (Visby Rules), 21 December 1979 (SDR Protocol 1979)



The limit under SDR Protocol 1979 – 2 SDRs per kg or 666.67 SDRs per package, whichever is higher


What is the value of an SDR?

How can one calculate the value of an SDR?

What is today’s value of the SDR?

Where can I get more information?


What is a Special Drawing Right (SDR), and what is it used for?

The SDR (Special Drawing Right) is an artificial “basket” currency used by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) for internal accounting purposes. The SDR is also used by some countries as a peg for their own currency, and is used as an international reserve asset


What is the value of an SDR?

Initially, the value of the SDR was defined in terms of one US-$, which in turn was defined in terms of an ounce of gold: $35/oz until 18-Dec-1971; $38/oz between 18-Dec-1971 and 11-Feb-1973; $42.22/oz between 12-Feb-1973 and 30-Jun-1974. Since July 1974 the SDR has been defined in terms of a basekt of currencies. This basket consisted initially of 16 currencies and was reduced to 5 in 1981. Every five years the IMF determines which five currencies will enter the basket, and which weight will be applied to each currency. The exchange rates used by the IMF to calculate the official SDR are the noon rates in the London foreign exchange market. When the London market is closed, noon rates in the New York market are used, and Frankfurt fixing rates are employed when the New York market is also closed. The tables on the right show the composition of the SDR.


Note that the currency values are exact as defined by Rule 0-1 of the IMF. However, the weights are approximate and will change along with the fluctuations of the constituent currencies. To get exact current weights, refer to the IMF’s current valuation page (see below). Weights can be calculated by dividing the US-$ equivalent amount of each currency by the sum of US-$ equivalent amounts


How can one calculate the value of an SDR?

To calculate the value of the SDR in national currency (say, ABC), multiply the four exchange rates of the home country vis-à-vis the basket-currency countries (i.e., ABC/USD, ABC/EUR, ABC/JPY, and ABC/GBP) with the basket values indicated in the above table. Add these four numbers together to obtain the ABC/SDR exchange rate.


What is today’s value of the SDR?

The International Monetary Fund prepares a daily web page with today’s SDR valuation.


Where can I get more information?

The IMF has a SDR home page with links to current rates and more information. Authoritative SDR rates for the most recent months and for a larger number of currencies are also available directly from the International Monetary Fund. The current value of an SDR vis-à-vis the US-$ and C-$ are available from the PACIFC Exchange Rate Service. SDR rates against numerous currencies for the last five days can also be retrieved from the IMF SDRs per Currency unit and Currency units per SDR last five days web page.






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