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À quoi ont servi les réserves de change très importantes ?

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  • Patrick Artus
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    [eng] What has been the use of the very large official reserves ? The very large official reserves of emerging countries can be due to two types of behaviour : a mercantilist behaviour (intentional weakening of the exchange rate to support growth through exports) and a precautionary behaviour, because very large official reserves discourage speculative attacks against emerging-country currencies. But once again in this crisis there are sharp currency devaluations by emerging countries (except China), which choose to allow their currency to depreciate rather than lose their reserves (so what is the use of precautionary reserves ?) and significant capital outflows, revealing that the prior accumulation of official reserves was due to speculative capital inflows which can leave the country again ; the high level of reserves, in this context, provides no protection against dramatic capital outflows. It can therefore legitimately be wondered whether the cost of holding large official reserves (inefficient use of savings) gives real benefits in return, or whether another method should not be chosen (control of speculative capital flows ?) to prevent currency crises in emerging countries. Classification JEL : O24, F3, F4. [fre] Les réserves de change très importantes des pays émergents peuvent être dues à deux types de comportements : un comportement mercantiliste (affaiblissement volontaire du taux de change pour soutenir la croissance par les exportations) et un comportement de précaution, les réserves de change très élevées décourageant les attaques spéculatives contre les devises des pays émergents. Mais on observe à nouveau dans cette crise de fortes dépréciations des taux de change de ces pays, sauf de la Chine (les pays choisissent de laisser se déprécier leur monnaie plutôt que de perdre leurs réserves - À quoi servent alors les réserves de précaution ? - ), de fortes sorties de capitaux, révélant que l’accumulation antérieure de réserves de change venait d’entrées de capitaux spéculatifs qui peuvent ressortir du pays ; le niveau de réserves élevé, dans cette configuration, ne protège pas contre les sorties violentes de capitaux. On peut donc légitimement se demander si le coût de détention de réserves de change élevées (une utilisation inefficace de l’épargne) a vraiment des contreparties favorables et s’il ne faudrait pas choisir une autre méthode (contrôle des capitaux spéculatifs ?) pour éviter les crises de change dans les pays émergents. Classification JEL : O24, F3, F4.

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    Article provided by Programme National Persée in its journal Revue d'économie financière.

    Volume (Year): 95 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 259-274

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    Handle: RePEc:prs:recofi:ecofi_0987-3368_2009_num_95_2_5357
    Note: DOI:10.3406/ecofi.2009.5357
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    1. Choi, Woon Gyu & Cook, David, 2004. "Liability dollarization and the bank balance sheet channel," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 247-275, December.
    2. Joshua Aizenman & Nancy Marion, 2004. "International Reserve Holdings with Sovereign Risk and Costly Tax Collection," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 569-591, July.
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    5. Robert P Flood & Nancy P. Marion, 2002. "Holding International Reserves in an Era of High Capital Mobility," IMF Working Papers 02/62, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Frenkel, Jacob A & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1981. "Optimal International Reserves: A Stochastic Framework," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(362), pages 507-514, June.
    7. Ronald McKinnon & Gunther Schnabl, 2004. "The Return to Soft Dollar Pegging in East Asia: Mitigating Conflicted Virtue," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(2), pages 169-201, July.
    8. Muge Adalet & Barry Eichengreen, 2007. "Current Account Reversals: Always a Problem?," NBER Chapters,in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 205-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Van Wijnbergen, Sweder, 1990. "Cash/debt buy-backs and the insurance value of reserves," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1-2), pages 123-131, August.
    10. Romain Ranciere & Olivier D Jeanne, 2006. "The Optimal Level of International Reserves for Emerging Market Countries; Formulas and Applications," IMF Working Papers 06/229, International Monetary Fund.
    11. 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.
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