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International Liquidity and the Role of the SDR in the International Monetary System


  • Peter B. Clark

    (International Monetary Fund)

  • Jacques J. Polak

    (International Monetary Fund)


This paper describes how the changed conditions in the international monetary system have undermined the role originally envisaged for the SDR. It argues that the concept of a global stock of international liquidity, which was fundamental to the creation of the SDR, is now no longer relevant. Nonetheless, there are good reasons to satisfy part of the growing demand for international reserves with SDR allocations: (i) there are efficiency gains, as SDRs can be created at zero resource cost, and thus obviate the need for countries to run current account surpluses or engage in expensive borrowing to obtain reserves, and (ii) there would be a reduction in systemic risk, as SDRs would substitute to some extent for borrowed reserves, which are a less reliable and predictable source of reserves, especially in times of crisis. Copyright 2004, International Monetary Fund

Suggested Citation

  • Peter B. Clark & Jacques J. Polak, 2004. "International Liquidity and the Role of the SDR in the International Monetary System," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(1), pages 1-3.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:imfstp:v:51:y:2004:i:1:p:3

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ocampo, Jose Antonio, 2014. "The provision of global liquidity: The global reserve system," WIDER Working Paper Series 141, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. Pietro Alessandrini & Andrea Presbitero, 2012. "Low-Income Countries and an SDR-based International Monetary System," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 129-150, February.
    3. Gurgen OHANYAN, 2015. "Recent Changes of IMF Conditionality and Its Effects on Social Spending," REVISTA DE MANAGEMENT COMPARAT INTERNATIONAL/REVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL COMPARATIVE MANAGEMENT, Faculty of Management, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 16(5), pages 591-602, December.
    4. Fidora, Michael & Bracke, Thierry, 2008. "Global liquidity glut or global savings glut? A structural VAR approach," Working Paper Series 911, European Central Bank.
    5. Bracke, Thierry & Fidora, Michael, 2012. "The macro-financial factors behind the crisis: Global liquidity glut or global savings glut?," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 185-202.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics


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