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International Reserves Management and the Current Account

  • Joshua Aizenman

The paper assesses the costs and benefits of active international reserve management (IRM), shedding light on the question of how intense should IRM be for an emerging market. In principle, an active IRM strategy could lower real exchange rate volatility induced by terms of trade shocks; provide self insurance against sudden stops; reduce the speed of adjustment of the current account; and even allow for higher growth if it fosters exports (“mercantilist” motive). The message of the report is mixed – management of reserves is not a panacea. The mercantilist case for hoarding international reserves, as an ingredient of an export led growth strategy, is dubious. Done properly, IRM augments macro economic management in turbulent times, mitigating the impact of external adverse shocks and allowing for a smoother current account adjustment. These benefits are especially important for commodity exporting countries, and countries with limited financial development.

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Paper provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Working Papers Central Bank of Chile with number 449.

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Date of creation: Dec 2007
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Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:449
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  1. Aizenman, Joshua & LEE, JAEWOO, 2005. "International Reserves: Precautionary versus Mercantilist Views, Theory and Evidence," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt44g3n2j8, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  2. Philippe Aghion & Philippe Baccheta & Romain Ranciere & Kenneth Rogoff, 2006. "Exchange Rate Volatility and Productivity Growth: The Role of Financial Development," Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series 06-16, Swiss Finance Institute.
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  19. Alan M. Taylor, 2002. "A Century of Current Account Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 8927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  23. Ricardo J. Caballero, 2003. "On the International Financial Architecture: Insuring Emerging Markets," NBER Working Papers 9570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  25. 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.
  26. Yan Zhou, 2009. "International Reserves and Fiscal Policy in Developing Countries," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(5), pages 942-960, November.
  27. Joshua Aizenman & Daniel Riera-Crichton, 2006. "Real Exchange Rate and International Reserves in the Era of Growing Financial and Trade Integration," NBER Working Papers 12363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. César Calderón & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2003. "Macroeconomic Policies and Performance in Latin America," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 217, Central Bank of Chile.
  29. Reuven Glick & Andrew K. Rose, 1998. "Contagion and trade: why are currency crises regional?," Pacific Basin Working Paper Series 98-03, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  30. Frenkel, Jacob A & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1981. "Optimal International Reserves: A Stochastic Framework," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(362), pages 507-14, June.
  31. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Panageas, Stavros, 2008. "Hedging sudden stops and precautionary contractions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1-2), pages 28-57, February.
  32. M. Nowak & Ketil Hviding & Luca Antonio Ricci, 2004. "Can Higher Reserves Help Reduce Exchange Rate Volatility?," IMF Working Papers 04/189, International Monetary Fund.
  33. Rolando Ossowski & Steven Barnett & James Daniel & Jeffrey M. Davis, 2001. "Stabilization and Savings Funds for Nonrenewable Resources," IMF Occasional Papers 205, International Monetary Fund.
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