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Central Banks and Gold Puzzles

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  • Aizenman, Joshua
  • Inoue, Kenta

Abstract

We study the curious patterns of gold holding and trading by central banksduring 1979-2010. With the exception of several discrete step adjustments,central banks keep maintaining passive stocks of gold, independently of thepatterns of the real price of gold. We also observe the synchronization of goldsales by central banks, as most reduced their positions in tandem, and theirtendency to report international reserves valuation excluding gold positions.Our analysis suggests that the intensity of holding gold is correlated with ‘globalpower’ – by the history of being a past empire, or by the sheer size of a country,especially by countries that are or were the suppliers of key currencies. Theseresults are consistent with the view that central bank’s gold position signalseconomic might, and that gold retains the stature of a ‘safe haven’ asset at timesof global turbulence. The under-reporting of gold positions in the internationalreserve/GDP statistics is consistent with loss aversion, wishing to maintain asizeable gold position, while minimizing the criticism that may occur at a timewhen the price of gold declines

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz in its series Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt7bx7h0q4.

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Date of creation: 26 Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucscec:qt7bx7h0q4

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Keywords: Social and Behavioral Sciences; International reserves; Central banks; Gold; exchange rate regimes;

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References

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  1. Aizenman, Joshua & Marion, Nancy P., 2003. "International Reserve Holdings with Sovereign Risk and Costly Tax Collection," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt9s7978n1, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  2. Olivier Jeanne, 2007. "International Reserves in Emerging Market Countries: Too Much of a Good Thing?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 38(1), pages 1-80.
  3. Joshua Aizenman & Jaewoo Lee, 2005. "International Reserves: Precautionary versus Mercantilist Views, Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 11366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Kathryn M. E. Dominguez & Yuko Hashimoto & Takatoshi Ito, 2011. "International Reserves and the Global Financial Crisis," NBER Chapters, in: Global Financial Crisis National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Dickey, David A & Fuller, Wayne A, 1981. "Likelihood Ratio Statistics for Autoregressive Time Series with a Unit Root," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 1057-72, June.
  6. Joshua Aizenman & Menzie D. Chinn & Hiro Ito, 2010. "Surfing the Waves of Globalization: Asia and Financial Globalization in the Context of the Trilemma," NBER Working Papers 15876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Yin-Wong Cheung & Hiro Ito, 2009. "A Cross-Country Empirical Analysis of International Reserves," CESifo Working Paper Series 2654, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Dani Rodrik, 2006. "The Social Cost of Foreign Exchange Reserves," NBER Working Papers 11952, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Joshua Aizenman & Nancy Marion, 2002. "The high demand for international reserves in the Far East: what's going on?," Pacific Basin Working Paper Series 2002-08, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  10. Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier & Rey, Hélène, 2005. "International Financial Adjustment," CEPR Discussion Papers 4923, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Obstfeld, Maurice & Shambaugh, Jay C & Taylor, Alan M, 2008. "Financial Stability, the Trilemma, and International Reserves," CEPR Discussion Papers 6693, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Joshua Aizenman & Reuven Glick, 2008. "Sovereign Wealth Funds: Stylized Facts about their Determinants and Governance," NBER Working Papers 14562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Richard H. Clarida, 2007. "Introduction to "G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment"," NBER Chapters, in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 1-10 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier & Rey, Hélène, 2005. "From World Banker to World Venture Capitalist: US External Adjustment and The Exorbitant Privilege," CEPR Discussion Papers 5220, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Richard H. Clarida, 2007. "G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number clar06-2, July.
  16. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2002. "Fear Of Floating," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(2), pages 379-408, May.
  17. Michael Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter Garber, 2005. "An essay on the revived Bretton Woods system," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Feb.
  18. Joshua Aizenman & Kenta Inoue, 2012. "Central Banks and Gold Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 17894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Arellano, Manuel, 2003. "Panel Data Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199245291, September.
  20. Baur, Dirk G. & McDermott, Thomas K., 2010. "Is gold a safe haven? International evidence," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1886-1898, August.
  21. Pablo García & Claudio Soto, 2004. "Large Hoardings of International Reserves: Are They Worth It?," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 299, Central Bank of Chile.
  22. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "From Financial Crash to Debt Crisis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1676-1706, August.
  23. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Joshua Aizenman & Kenta Inoue, 2012. "Central Banks and Gold Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 17894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Joscha Beckmann & Robert Czudaj, 2012. "Gold as an Infl ation Hedge in a Time-Varying Coeffi cient Framework," Ruhr Economic Papers 0362, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.

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