China reported a $135.7b increase in its reserves in q1.
China doesn’t report the currency composition of its reserves to the IMF. Its reserve total consequently usually appears in the “unallocated” line of the IMF’s data on foreign exchange reserves (The COFER data).
But unallocated reserves only increased by $107b in q1. It is unusual — as the following graph shows — for the increase in unallocated reserves to be smaller than the increase in China's reserves. It happened in q4 2005, but that is about the only case, at least the only recent case apart from q1 2007.
China is clearly the most important country that doesn't report data on the currency composition of its reserves to the IMF, but it isn't the only one — and the others generally have been adding to, not subtracting from, China's total. One explanation for the q1 data is that some of these other countries reduced their reserve holdings, offsetting the very large increase in China’s reserves.
But I track the reserve data released by a lot of countries, and I haven’t found many with falling reserves recently — so I certainly wasn't expecting a big offset to China's reserve growth. Venezuela’s reserves did dip a bit in q1, but not enough to offset China’s $135b increase. If any one knows of another country that reduced its reserves significantly in q1 2007, do tell – the $30b fall in reserves needed to offset China's strong q1 is large enough that it should be relatively easy to find.
The increase in “allocated” reserve reported by emerging economies – that is emerging economies that report data on the currency composition of their reserves was $131.4b. Another possible explanation for the smaller-than-expected increase in "unallocated reserves" is that some countries started to report the currency composition of their reserves, shifting from “allocated” to “unallocated.”