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Central Bank Currency Swaps and the International Monetary System

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  • Christophe Destais

Abstract

Central bank currency swaps (CBCS) allow central banks to provide foreign currency liquidity to the commercial banks in their jurisdictions. Since the end of 2007, these swaps have emerged as a de facto key feature of the international monetary system (IMS), with the US Federal Reserve (FED) having extensive recourse to them during the financial crisis, and their exploitation by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) to help internationalizing the renminbi. This trend was further confirmed in the second half of 2013 with (i) the signing of two swaps agreements between the PBOC and the Bank of England (BOE) and the European Central Bank (ECB), and (ii) the little remarked decision by six major western central banks including the US FED, announced on October 31st 2013, to make permanent previously temporary swap lines. Currency swaps combined with the unlimited and exclusive power of central banks to create money can match the volatility of international capital flows. They have proved very effective and extremely helpful during the recent financial crisis. However, so far, central bank swaps have not been associated with conditionality, and are more precarious than alternative institutional arrangements, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or regional financial agreements (RFA). Large scale use of CBCS can render central banks subject to significant counterparty risk. The huge powers that are bestowed upon central banks as a result of CBCS have triggered questions about the possibility of institutionalizing, and therefore limiting, this new tool. This might be a step too far, since most countries link sovereignty and money creation, and would never agree to have their hands tied. However, in our view, an internationally agreed set of principles would enable a fairer and perhaps more efficient exploitation of this instrument. These principles should include a commitment to transparency. They should encourage long-lasting agreements in order to foster stability, as well as the inclusion of provisions that require commercial banks to soundly manage their foreign liquidity risk. They should also encourage international currency issuers not to unfairly exclude potential CBCS beneficiaries.

Suggested Citation

  • Christophe Destais, 2014. "Central Bank Currency Swaps and the International Monetary System," CEPII Policy Brief 2014-05, CEPII research center.
  • Handle: RePEc:cii:cepipb:2014-05
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    Cited by:

    1. D. Essers & E. Vincent, 2017. "The global financial safety net :In need of repair ?," Economic Review, National Bank of Belgium, issue ii, pages 87-112, september.
    2. Mohammed Ahmed, Abdullahi, 2019. "Financial Development and Central Bank Bilateral Currency Swaps: Is there Trade Effect?," MPRA Paper 109875, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 05 Aug 2019.
    3. Laurissa Mühlich & Barbara Fritz, 2018. "Safety for Whom? The Scattered Global Financial Safety Net and the Role of Regional Financial Arrangements," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 29(5), pages 981-1001, November.
    4. Anne-Laure Delatte & Sébastien Jean, 2017. "Trade and Macro-Economic Issues for International Co-Ordinational in Tense Times," CEPII Policy Brief 2017-16, CEPII research center.
    5. Matthieu Crozet & Gianluca Orefice, 2017. "Trade and Labor Market: What Do We Know?," CEPII Policy Brief 2017-15, CEPII research center.
    6. Xavier Chojnicki & Anthony Edo & Lionel Ragot, 2016. "Intra-European Labor Migration in Crisis Times," Post-Print hal-01610055, HAL.
    7. Barbara Fritz & Laurissa Mühlich, 2019. "Regional Financial Arrangements in the Global Financial Safety Net: The Arab Monetary Fund and the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 50(1), pages 96-121, January.
    8. Michel Aglietta & Guo Bai, 2016. "China’s 13th Five-Year Plan. In Pursuit of a “Moderately Prosperous Society”," CEPII Policy Brief 2016-12, CEPII research center.
    9. Stracca, Livio & Scheubel, Beatrice, 2016. "What do we know about the global financial safety net? Rationale, data and possible evolution," Occasional Paper Series 177, European Central Bank.
    10. Cecilia Bellora & Sébastien Jean, 2016. "Granting Market Economy Status to China in the EU: An Economic Impact Assessment," CEPII Policy Brief 2016-11, CEPII research center.
    11. Sébastien Jean & Ariell Reshef, 2017. "Why Trade, and What Would Be the Consequences of Protectionism?," CEPII Policy Brief 2017-18, CEPII research center.
    12. Michel Aglietta & Virginie Coudert, 2016. "Trump and the Dollar in the Refection of History," Working Papers hal-01671414, HAL.
    13. Scheubel, Beatrice & Stracca, Livio, 2019. "What do we know about the global financial safety net? A new comprehensive data set," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 99(C).
    14. Marina Zucker‐Marques & Pedro Perfeito da Silva, 2022. "The Role of Institutions: A Cross‐country Analysis of Renminbi Trading in Foreign Exchange Markets," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 30(3), pages 42-74, May.
    15. Mohammed Ahmed, Abdullahi, 2019. "China’s Bilateral Currency Swap Agreement: Strategic Move to Foster Political and Financial Hegemony," MPRA Paper 109879, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 08 Oct 2019.
    16. Michel Aglietta & Étienne Espagne, 2015. "Financing energy and low-carbon investment: public guarantees and the ECB," CEPII Policy Brief 2015-06, CEPII research center.
    17. Michel Aglietta & Virginie Coudert, 2015. "Currency Turmoil in an Unbalanced World Economy," Bankers, Markets & Investors, ESKA Publishing, issue 139, pages 46-57, November-.
    18. Miroslav Titze, 2016. "Federal Reserve Swap Lines - International Lender of the Last Resort [Swapové linky federálneho rezervného systému - medzinárodný veriteľ poslednej inštancie]," Acta Oeconomica Pragensia, Prague University of Economics and Business, vol. 2016(4), pages 3-23.
    19. Antoniades, Andreas, 2015. "The New Resilience of Emerging and Developing Countries: Systemic Interlocking, Currency Swaps and Geoeconomics," MPRA Paper 68181, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Christophe Destais, 2016. "Central Bank Currency Swaps and the International Monetary System," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 52(10), pages 2253-2266, October.
    21. Natacha Valla & Jesper Berg & Laurent Clerc & Olivier Garnier & Erik Nielsen, 2015. "A holistic approach to ECB asset purchases, the Investment Plan and CMU," CEPII Policy Brief 2015-07, CEPII research center.
    22. Hillel Rapoport, 2017. "Who is Afraid of the Brain Drain? A Development Economist’s View," CEPII Policy Brief 2017-14, CEPII research center.
    23. Etienne Espagne, 2016. "Climate Finance at COP21 and After: Lessons Learnt," CEPII Policy Brief 2016-09, CEPII research center.
    24. Andreas Antoniades, 2017. "The New Resilience of Emerging and Developing Countries: Systemic Interlocking, Currency Swaps and Geoeconomics," Global Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 8(2), pages 170-180, May.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Central Banks; International Monetary System; Foreign Currency Liquidity Risk; Financial Instability; International Monetary Fund; US dollar; Renminbi;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission
    • F65 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Finance
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets

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