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The Economic Policy of Foreign Reserve Accumulation: New International Evidence

  • Martín Redrado

    (Central Bank of Argentina)

  • Jorge Carrera


    (Central Bank of Argentina)

  • Diego Bastourre


    (Central Bank of Argentina)

  • Javier Ibarlucia


    (Central Bank of Argentina)

This paper aims at identifying the underlying reasons for substantial accumulation of foreign reserves, a strategy currently followed by a large number of countries. To this end, it first studies international liquidity conditions and individual country demand for reserves. It then analyses reserve hoarding by different country groups and its relationship with exchange rate and sterilization policies. Following this, the dynamics of reserves in Argentina is described. Additionally, several adequacy indicators for emerging economies are calculated. After discussing alternative econometric strategies, the paper estimates reserve determinants in a panel of 139 countries employing a generalized method of moments estimator (System GMM). This methodology considerably changes prevailing results. It is found that inertia, regional imitation, both trade and financial openness and income levels are important factors driving reserve hoarding. It is concluded that in the context of asymmetric financial integration, reliance on international liquidity is a feasible way of guaranteeing the stability of monetary and exchange rate policies when real and financial shocks hit an economy. As a policy recommendation, exchange rate flexibility does not turn out to be a substitute for reserve accumulation. Emerging economies combine high international reserve levels with greater exchange rate flexibility as a strategy to face increasing exposure to external shocks.

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Paper provided by Central Bank of Argentina, Economic Research Department in its series BCRA Working Paper Series with number 200614.

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Length: 105 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bcr:wpaper:200614
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