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The financial crisis and sizable international reserves depletion: From ‘fear of floating’ to the ‘fear of losing international reserves’?

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  • Aizenman, Joshua
  • Sun, Yi

Abstract

This paper studies the degree to which Emerging Markets (EMs) adjusted to the global liquidity crisis by drawing down their international reserves (IR). Overall, we find a mixed and complex picture. Intriguingly, only about half of the EMs relied on depleting their international reserves as part of the adjustment mechanism. To gain further insight, we compare the pre-crisis demand for IR/GDP of countries that experienced sizable depletion of their IR, to that of courtiers that didn’t, and find different patterns between the two groups. Trade related factors (trade openness, primary goods export ratio, especially large oil export) seem to be much more significant in accounting for the pre-crisis IR/GDP level of countries that experienced a sizable depletion of their IR in the first phase of the crisis. These findings suggest that countries that internalized their large exposure to trade shocks before the crisis, used their IR as a buffer stock in the first phase of the crisis. Their reserves loses followed an inverted logistical curve – after a rapid initial depletion of reverses, they reached within 7 months a markedly declining rate of IR depletion, losing not more than one-third of their pre crisis IR. In contrast, for countries that refrained from a sizable depletion of their IR during the first crisis phase, financial factors account more than trade factors in explaining their initial level of IR/GDP. Our results indicate that the adjustment of Emerging Markets was constrained more by their fear of losing international reserves than by their fear of floating.

Suggested Citation

  • Aizenman, Joshua & Sun, Yi, 2009. "The financial crisis and sizable international reserves depletion: From ‘fear of floating’ to the ‘fear of losing international reserves’?," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt6rf4r8v8, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucscec:qt6rf4r8v8
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kevin Cowan & José De Gregorio, 2007. "International Borrowing, Capital Controls, and the Exchange Rate: Lessons from Chile," NBER Chapters,in: Capital Controls and Capital Flows in Emerging Economies: Policies, Practices and Consequences, pages 241-296 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Guillermo A. Calvo, 1998. "Capital Flows and Capital-Market Crises: The Simple Economics of Sudden Stops," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 1, pages 35-54, November.
    3. Dani Rodrik, 2006. "The social cost of foreign exchange reserves," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(3), pages 253-266.
    4. Joshua Aizenman, 2010. "Hoarding international reserves versus a Pigovian tax-cum-subsidy scheme: Reflections on the deleveraging crisis of 2008-9, and a cost benefit analysis," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Oct.
    5. Yin-Wong Cheung & Xingwang Qian, 2007. "Hoarding of International Reserves: Mrs Machlup’s Wardrobe and the Joneses," CESifo Working Paper Series 2065, CESifo Group Munich.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Alberola, Enrique & Erce, Aitor & Serena, José Maria, 2016. "International reserves and gross capital flows dynamics," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 151-171.
    2. Aizenman, Joshua & Pinto, Brian, 2011. "Managing Financial Integration and Capital Mobility— Policy lessons from the past two decades," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt9j53m1tp, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
    3. Bussière, Matthieu & Cheng, Gong & Chinn, Menzie D. & Lisack, Noëmie, 2015. "For a few dollars more: Reserves and growth in times of crises," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 127-145.
    4. Joshua Aizenman, 2010. "International Reserves and Swap Lines in Times of Financial Distress: Overview and Interpretations," Working Papers id:3022, eSocialSciences.
    5. Edd Denbee & Carsten Jung & Francesco Paternò, 2016. "Stitching together the global financial safety net," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 322, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    6. repec:cbu:jrnlec:y:2017:v:1special:p:246-252 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Bagus, Philipp & Howden, David, 2014. "Central Bank Insolvency: Causes, Effects and Remedies," MPRA Paper 79605, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. IRC Task Force on IMF issues & Broos, Menno & Ghalanos, Michalis & Kennedy, Bernard & Landbeck, Alexander & Lerner, Christina & Menezes, Paula & Schiavone, Alessandro & Tilley, Thomas & Viani, Frances, 2016. "Dealing with large and volatile capital flows and the role of the IMF," Occasional Paper Series 180, European Central Bank.

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