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Large Hoardings of International Reserves: Are They Worth It?

In: External Vulnerability and Preventive Policies

  • Pablo García

    (Banco Central de Chile)

  • Claudio Soto

    (Banco Central de Chile)

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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This chapter was published in: Ricardo Caballero & César Calderón & Luis Felipe Céspedes & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series Editor) (ed.) External Vulnerability and Preventive Policies, , chapter 6, pages 171-206, 2006.
This item is provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series with number v10c06pp171-206.
Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchsb:v10c06pp171-206
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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. 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.
  3. Bussière, Matthieu & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2002. "Towards a new early warning system of financial crises," Working Paper Series 0145, European Central Bank.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.).
  6. 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.
  7. Olivier Jeanne & Charles Wyplosz, 2003. "The International Lender of Last Resort. How Large Is Large Enough?," NBER Chapters, in: Managing Currency Crises in Emerging Markets, pages 89-124 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Carmen M. Reinhart & Graciela L. Kaminsky, 1999. "The Twin Crises: The Causes of Banking and Balance-of-Payments Problems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 473-500, June.
  9. Frenkel, Jacob A & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1981. "Optimal International Reserves: A Stochastic Framework," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(362), pages 507-14, June.
  10. 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.
  11. Feldstein, Martin, 1999. "A Self-Help Guide for Emerging Markets," Scholarly Articles 2961700, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Lawrence H. Summers, 2000. "International Financial Crises: Causes, Prevention, and Cures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 1-16, May.
  13. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2004. "The modern history of exchange rate arrangements: A reinterpretation," MPRA Paper 14070, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. 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.
  15. Andrew Berg & Catherine Pattillo, 1999. "Are Currency Crises Predictable? A Test," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 46(2), pages 1.
  16. Christian B. Mulder & Matthieu Bussière, 1999. "External Vulnerability in Emerging Market Economies; How High Liquidity Can offset Weak Fundamentals and the Effects of Contagion," IMF Working Papers 99/88, International Monetary Fund.
  17. Kruger, Mark & Osakwe, Patrick N. & Page, Jennifer, 1998. "Fundamentals, Contagion and Currency Crises: An Empirical Analysis," Working Papers 98-10, Bank of Canada.
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