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Central Banks and Gold Puzzles

  • Aizenman, Joshua
  • Inoue, Kenta

We study the curious patterns of gold holding and trading by central banksduring 1979-2010. With the exception of several discrete step adjustments,central banks keep maintaining passive stocks of gold, independently of thepatterns of the real price of gold. We also observe the synchronization of goldsales by central banks, as most reduced their positions in tandem, and theirtendency to report international reserves valuation excluding gold positions.Our analysis suggests that the intensity of holding gold is correlated with ‘globalpower’ – by the history of being a past empire, or by the sheer size of a country,especially by countries that are or were the suppliers of key currencies. Theseresults are consistent with the view that central bank’s gold position signalseconomic might, and that gold retains the stature of a ‘safe haven’ asset at timesof global turbulence. The under-reporting of gold positions in the internationalreserve/GDP statistics is consistent with loss aversion, wishing to maintain asizeable gold position, while minimizing the criticism that may occur at a timewhen the price of gold declines

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz in its series Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt7bx7h0q4.

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Date of creation: 26 Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucscec:qt7bx7h0q4
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  1. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Hélène Rey, 2005. "International financial adjustment," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Joshua Aizenman & Menzie D. Chinn & Hiro Ito, 2010. "Surfing the Waves of Globalization: Asia and Financial Globalization in the Context of the Trilemma," NBER Working Papers 15876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Joshua Aizenman & Jaewoo Lee, 2005. "International Reserves: Precautionary versus Mercantilist Views, Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 11366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Joshua Aizenman & Kenta Inoue, 2012. "Central Banks and Gold Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 17894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Richard H. Clarida, 2006. "G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment," NBER Working Papers 12194, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Hélène Rey, 2007. "From World Banker to World Venture Capitalist: U.S. External Adjustment and the Exorbitant Privilege," NBER Chapters, in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 11-66 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Joshua Aizenman & Nancy P. Marion, 2002. "International Reserve Holdings with Sovereign Risk and Costly Tax Collection," NBER Working Papers 9154, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Kathryn M.E. Dominguez & Yuko Hashimoto & Takatoshi Ito, 2011. "International Reserves and the Global Financial Crisis," NBER Working Papers 17362, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Yin-Wong Cheung & Hiro Ito, 2009. "A Cross-Country Empirical Analysis of International Reserves," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(4), pages 447-481.
  10. Pablo García & Claudio Soto, 2004. "Large Hoardings of International Reserves: Are They Worth It?," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 299, Central Bank of Chile.
  11. Richard H. Clarida, 2007. "Introduction to "G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment"," NBER Chapters, in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 1-10 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Obstfeld, Maurice & Shambaugh, Jay C & Taylor, Alan M., 2008. "Financial Stability, the Trilemma, and International Reserves," CEPR Discussion Papers 6693, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Joshua Aizenman & Nancy Marion, 2002. "The high demand for international reserves in the Far East: what's going on?," Pacific Basin Working Paper Series 2002-08, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  14. Dani Rodrik, 2006. "The Social Cost of Foreign Exchange Reserves," Working Papers id:357, eSocialSciences.
  15. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2000. "Fear of Floating," NBER Working Papers 7993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "From Financial Crash to Debt Crisis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1676-1706, August.
  18. Joshua Aizenman & Reuven Glick, 2008. "Sovereign wealth funds: stylized facts about their determinants and governance," Working Paper Series 2008-33, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  19. Arellano, Manuel, 2003. "Panel Data Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199245291, March.
  20. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  21. Dirk G. Baur & Thomas K. McDermott, . "Is gold a safe haven? International evidence," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp310, IIIS.
  22. Dickey, David A & Fuller, Wayne A, 1981. "Likelihood Ratio Statistics for Autoregressive Time Series with a Unit Root," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 1057-72, June.
  23. 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.
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