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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. 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.
  2. Aizenman, Joshua & Inoue, Kenta, 2012. "Central Banks and Gold Puzzles," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt7bx7h0q4, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  3. 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.
  4. Aizenman, Joshua & Glick, Reuven, 2008. "Sovereign Wealth Funds: Stylized Facts about their Determinants and Governance," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1fj4b203, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  5. 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.
  6. Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier & Rey, Hélène, 2005. "International Financial Adjustment," CEPR Discussion Papers 4923, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Maurice Obstfeld & Jay C. Shambaugh & Alan M. Taylor, 2008. "Financial Stability, the Trilemma, and International Reserves," NBER Working Papers 14217, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2000. "Fear of Floating," NBER Working Papers 7993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Joshua Aizenman & Jaewoo Lee, 2007. "International Reserves: Precautionary Versus Mercantilist Views, Theory and Evidence," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 191-214, April.
  10. 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.
  11. Aizenman, Joshua & Chinn, Menzie D. & Ito, Hiro, 2011. "Surfing the waves of globalization: Asia and financial globalization in the context of the trilemma," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 290-320, September.
  12. 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.
  13. Richard H. Clarida, 2006. "G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment," NBER Working Papers 12194, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Hélène Rey, 2005. "From World Banker to World Venture Capitalist: US External Adjustment and the Exorbitant Privilege," NBER Working Papers 11563, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Dani Rodrik, 2006. "The Social Cost of Foreign Exchange Reserves," Working Papers id:357, eSocialSciences.
  18. Pablo García & Claudio Soto, 2006. "Large Hoardings of International Reserves: Are They Worth It?," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Ricardo Caballero & César Calderón & Luis Felipe Céspedes & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Sc (ed.), External Vulnerability and Preventive Policies, edition 1, volume 10, chapter 6, pages 171-206 Central Bank of Chile.
  19. Yin-Wong Cheung & Hiro Ito, 2009. "A Cross-Country Empirical Analysis of International Reserves," CESifo Working Paper Series 2654, CESifo Group Munich.
  20. Arellano, Manuel, 2003. "Panel Data Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199245291, March.
  21. 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.
  22. Baur, Dirk G. & McDermott, Thomas K., 2010. "Is gold a safe haven? International evidence," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1886-1898, August.
  23. 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.
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