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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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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 & Marion, Nancy P., 2003. "International Reserve Holdings with Sovereign Risk and Costly Tax Collection," Santa Cruz Center for International Economics, Working Paper Series qt9s7978n1, Center for International Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  2. Reinhart, Carmen & Kaminsky, Graciela, 1999. "The twin crises: The causes of banking and balance of payments problems," MPRA Paper 14081, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Jeanne, Olivier & Wyplosz, Charles, 2001. "The International Lender of Last Resort: How Large is Large Enough?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2842, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Bussiere, Matthieu & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2006. "Towards a new early warning system of financial crises," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 953-973, October.
  7. Ben-Bassat, Avraham & Gottlieb, Daniel, 1992. "Optimal international reserves and sovereign risk," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3-4), pages 345-362, November.
  8. Feldstein, Martin, 1999. "A Self-Help Guide for Emerging Markets," Scholarly Articles 2961700, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2004. "The modern history of exchange rate arrangements: A reinterpretation," MPRA Paper 14070, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Catherine A. Pattillo & Andrew Berg, 1998. "Are Currency Crises Predictable? a Test," IMF Working Papers 98/154, International Monetary Fund.
  11. 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.
  12. Christian B. Mulder & Matthieu Bussière, 1999. "External Vulnerability in Emerging Market Economies," IMF Working Papers 99/88, International Monetary Fund.
  13. Frenkel, Jacob A & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1981. "Optimal International Reserves: A Stochastic Framework," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(362), pages 507-14, June.
  14. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Andrew K. Rose, 1996. "Currency crashes in emerging markets: an empirical treatment," International Finance Discussion Papers 534, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. Kruger, Mark & Osakwe, Patrick N. & Page, Jennifer, 1998. "Fundamentals, Contagion and Currency Crises: An Empirical Analysis," Working Papers 98-10, Bank of Canada.
  16. Lawrence H. Summers, 2000. "International Financial Crises: Causes, Prevention, and Cures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 1-16, May.
  17. 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.
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