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About International Reserve Adequacy: The Case of Chile

  • Claudio Soto G.
  • Alberto Naudon D.
  • Eduardo López E.
  • Álvaro Aguirre R.

Under a flexible exchange rate regime, international reserves contribute to reducing the risk of a financial crisis, and allow the monetary authority to intervene exceptionally in the exchange market. However, holding reserves is costly. In this paper, we analyze several issues concerning the adequate level of Chilean international reserves. First we compare the level of Chile's international reserves with those of different sets of countries, using various indicators. We then analyze empirically some of the benefits and costs of holding reserves. Our results show that Chile's international reserves are high when measured with respect to GDP or M2, but they are in line with those of countries of similar characteristics when measured as a fraction of short-term residual debt. On the other hand, given the low risk of the Chilean economy, marginal changes in reserves have a very low impact on both the probability of a financial crisis and the sovereign spread of the country. Finally, as the sovereign spread has decreased over the last years, so too has the cost of reserves. In fact, over the past few years Chile's cost of reserves as a fraction of GDP has been considerably lower than the cost of other emerging economies.

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Article provided by Central Bank of Chile in its journal Economía Chilena.

Volume (Year): 7 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (December)
Pages: 5-34

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Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchec:v:7:y:2004:i:3:p:5-34
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  2. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo & Leiderman, Leonardo, 1993. "Af1uencia de capital y apreciacion del tipo de cambio real en America Latina: E1 papel de los factores externos
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  3. Olivier Jeanne & Charles Wyplosz, 2001. "The International Lender of Last Resort: How Large is Large Enough?," NBER Working Papers 8381, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Matías Tapia & Andrea Tokman, 2003. "Efectos de las Intervenciones en el Mercado Cambiario: El Caso de Chile," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 206, Central Bank of Chile.
  5. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Rebelo, Sergio, 2001. "Hedging and financial fragility in fixed exchange rate regimes," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 1151-1193.
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  8. Martin Feldstein, 1999. "Self-Protection for Emerging Market Economies," NBER Working Papers 6907, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. Enrica Detragiache & Antonio Spilimbergo, 2001. "Crises and Liquidity; Evidence and Interpretation," IMF Working Papers 01/2, International Monetary Fund.
  11. Gian Maria Milesi-Ferrett & Assaf Razin, 1998. "Current Account Reversals and Currency Crises: Empirical Regularities," NBER Working Papers 6620, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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.
  13. Andrew Berg & Catherine Pattillo, 1999. "Are Currency Crises Predictable? A Test," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 46(2), pages 1.
  14. Flood, Robert P. & Marion, Nancy P., 2004. "A model of the joint distribution of banking and currency crises," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 841-865, October.
  15. Barry Eichengreen & Ashoka Mody, 1998. "What Explains Changing Spreads on Emerging-Market Debt: Fundamentals or Market Sentiment?," NBER Working Papers 6408, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Edwards, Sebastian, 1984. "The Demand for International Reserves and Monetary Equilibrium: Some Evidence from Developing Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(3), pages 495-500, August.
  17. Fernando Aportela & Francisco Gallego & Pablo García, 2003. "Reserves Over the Transitions to Floating and to Inflation Targeting: Lessons From the Developed World," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 211, Central Bank of Chile.
  18. Ilan Goldfajn & Rodrigo Valdés, 1997. "Balance of Payments Crises and Capital Flows: The Role of Liquidity," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 11, Central Bank of Chile.
  19. W. R. M. Perraudin & Manmohan S. Kumar & Uma Moorthy, 2002. "Predicting Emerging Market Currency Crashes," IMF Working Papers 02/7, International Monetary Fund.
  20. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2004. "The Modern History of Exchange Rate Arrangements: A Reinterpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 1-48.
  21. Frenkel, Jacob A & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1981. "Optimal International Reserves: A Stochastic Framework," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(362), pages 507-14, June.
  22. Leonardo Leiderman & Carmen Reinhart & Guillermo Calvo, 1992. "Capital Inflows and Real Exchange Rate Appreciation in Latin America; The Role of External Factors," IMF Working Papers 92/62, International Monetary Fund.
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