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Large Hoardings of International Reserves: Are They Worth It?

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  • Pablo García
  • Claudio Soto

Abstract

We empirically assess the contribution of international reserves vis- à -vis institutional variables in reducing the risk of a currency crisis. We find that the ratio of reserves to short-term debt is robust in explaining international crisis, even after controlling for financial development and political variables. Based on our estimates on crisis probabilities we compute the optimal level of reserves for a set of East Asian economies and for Chile. The results of this exercise turn out to be very sensitive to the data utilized and to the assumptions regarding the cost of a crisis. For our benchmark estimate we conclude that the current stocks of reserves for most of the cases are consistent with an optimal selfinsurance policy under reasonable assumptions regarding the cost of a crisis.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Working Papers Central Bank of Chile with number 299.

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Date of creation: Dec 2004
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Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:299

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  1. Aizenman, Joshua & LEE, JAEWOO, 2005. "International Reserves: Precautionary versus Mercantilist Views, Theory and Evidence," Santa Cruz Center for International Economics, Working Paper Series qt44g3n2j8, Center for International Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  2. Kruger, Mark & Osakwe, Patrick N. & Page, Jennifer, 1998. "Fundamentals, Contagion and Currency Crises: An Empirical Analysis," Working Papers 98-10, Bank of Canada.
  3. Michael P. Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter Garber, 2003. "An Essay on the Revived Bretton Woods System," NBER Working Papers 9971, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1996. "Capital Flows and Macroeconomic Management: Tequila Lessons," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(3), pages 207-23, July.
  5. Joshua Aizenman & Nancy P. Marion, 2002. "The high demand for international reserves in the Far East: what's going on?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Sep.
  6. Frankel, Jeffrey A. & Rose, Andrew K., 1996. "Currency crashes in emerging markets: An empirical treatment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-4), pages 351-366, November.
  7. Lawrence H. Summers, 2000. "International Financial Crises: Causes, Prevention, and Cures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 1-16, May.
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