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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. 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.
  2. Aizenman, Joshua & Marion, Nancy, 2003. "The high demand for international reserves in the Far East: What is going on?," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 370-400, September.
  3. Kruger, Mark & Osakwe, Patrick N. & Page, Jennifer, 1998. "Fundamentals, Contagion and Currency Crises: An Empirical Analysis," Working Papers 98-10, Bank of Canada.
  4. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2002. "The Modern History of Exchange Rate Arrangements: A Reinterpretation," NBER Working Papers 8963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Aizenman, Joshua & LEE, JAEWOO, 2005. "International Reserves: Precautionary versus Mercantilist Views, Theory and Evidence," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt2tn4w8x6, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  6. Frankel, Jeffrey A. & Rose, Andrew K., 1996. "Currency crashes in emerging markets: An empirical treatment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-4), pages 351-366, November.
  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. Reinhart, Carmen & Kaminsky, Graciela, 2000. "Las crisis gemelas: las causas de los problemas bancarios y de balanza de pagos
    [The twin crises: Te causes of banking and balance of payments problems]
    ," MPRA Paper 13842, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. 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, 07.
  10. Feldstein, Martin, 1999. "A Self-Help Guide for Emerging Markets," Scholarly Articles 2961700, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Andrew Berg & Catherine Pattillo, 1999. "Are Currency Crises Predictable? A Test," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 46(2), pages 1.
  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. 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.
  14. Guillermo A. Calvo, 1996. "Capital flows and macroeconomic management: tequila lessons," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 96-02, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  15. Frenkel, Jacob A & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1981. "Optimal International Reserves: A Stochastic Framework," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(362), pages 507-14, June.
  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. 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.
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