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IASB publishes proposed amendments to IAS 21 to clarify the accounting when there is a lack of exchangeability

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20 Apr 2021

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has published an exposure draft 'Lack of Exchangeability (Proposed amendments to IAS 21)' that contains proposed guidance to specify when a currency is exchangeable and how to determine the exchange rate when it is not. Comments are requested by 1 September 2021.



The IFRS Interpretations Committee received a submission about the determination of the exchange rate when there is a long-term lack of exchangeability as IAS 21 The Effects of Changes in Foreign Exchange Rates does not include explicit requirements on the exchange rate an entity uses when the spot exchange rate is not observable. The Committee researched possible narrow-scope standard-setting and concluded that the best way forward was to recommend that the IASB propose narrow-scope amendments to IAS 21 to address the matter.

In November 2019, the IASB took the matter over and during its subsequent meetings discussed how to assess whether a currency is exchangeable and which exchange rate to use when it is not. The Board decided to propose to add requirements to IAS 21 that will help an entity determine whether a currency is exchangeable into another currency and requirements the entity would apply when it is not.


Suggested changes

The proposed amendments in exposure draft ED/2021/4 Lack of Exchangeability (Proposed amendments to IAS 21) would amend IAS 21 to:

  • Specify when a currency is exchangeable into another currency and when it is not — a currency is exchangeable when an entity is able to exchange that currency for the other currency, even if indirectly through another currency, through markets or exchange mechanisms that create enforceable rights and obligations without undue delay; a currency is not exchangeable into the other currency if an entity can only obtain an insignificant amount of the other currency.
  • Specify how an entity determines the exchange rate to apply when a currency is not exchangeable — when a currency is not exchangeable an entity estimates the spot exchange rate as a rate that the entity would have been able to access had the currency been exchangeable, would have applied to an orderly transaction between market participants, and would faithfully reflect the economic conditions prevailing; an entity would also be able to use an observable exchange rate as the estimated spot exchange rate if it meets the noted requirements or the first subsequent exchange rate after exchangeability is restored.
  • Require the disclosure of additional information when a currency is not exchangeable — when a currency is not exchangeable an entity discloses information that would enable users of its financial statements to evaluate how a currency’s lack of exchangeability affects, or is expected to affect, its financial performance, financial position and cash flows.

Comments on the proposed changes are requested by 1 September 2021.


Effective date

The exposure draft does not contain a proposed effective date as the IASB intends to decide on this after exposure. Early application would be permitted. The amendments would apply prospectively from the date of initial application of the amendments.


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