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The Case for an International Reserve Diversification Standard

  • Edwin M. Truman

    ()

    (Institute for International Economics)

  • Anna Wong

    (Institute for International Economics)

Rumors about the actual or potential currency diversification of countries’ foreign exchange holdings out of dollars are not a new phenomenon. This working paper argues that such concerns about reserve diversification are exaggerated. We present evidence that the extent of actual diversification has been modest to date. Nevertheless, the potential for reserve diversification adds volatility to foreign exchange markets and can catalyze abrupt exchange rate movements. We argue that policymakers acting in their own national interests can do something constructive to reduce the volatility introduced into foreign exchange and financial markets by rumors of large-scale international foreign exchange reserve diversification. We propose the voluntary adoption by major foreign exchange reserve holders in particular of an International Reserve Diversification Standard consisting of two elements: (1) routine disclosure of the currency composition of official foreign exchange holdings and (2) a commitment by each adherent to adjust gradually the actual currency composition of its reserves to any new benchmark for those holdings.

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Paper provided by Peterson Institute for International Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number WP06-2.

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Date of creation: May 2006
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Handle: RePEc:iie:wpaper:wp06-2
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  1. Menzie Chinn & Jeffrey Frankel, 2005. "Will the Euro Eventually Surpass the Dollar as Leading International Reserve Currency?," NBER Working Papers 11510, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Mark P. Taylor & Lucio Sarno, 2001. "Official Intervention in the Foreign Exchange Market: Is It Effective and, If So, How Does It Work?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 839-868, September.
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  9. Edwin M. Truman, 2005. "Postponing Global Adjustment: An Analysis of the Pending Adjustment of Global Imbalances," Working Paper Series WP05-6, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
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  12. Frenkel, Jacob A, 1974. "The Demand for International Reserves by Developed and Less-Developed Countries," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 41(161), pages 14-24, February.
  13. Robert McCauley, 2005. "Distinguishing global dollar reserves from official holdings in the United States," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, September.
  14. Anna J. Schwartz, 2000. "The Rise and Fall of Foreign Exchange Market Intervention," NBER Working Papers 7751, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Ben S. Bernanke & Vincent R. Reinhart & Brian P. Sack, 2004. "Monetary policy alternatives at the zero bound: an empirical assessment," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-48, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  16. Takatoshi Ito, 2005. "The Exchange Rate In The Japanese Economy: The Past, Puzzles, And Prospects," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 56(1), pages 1-38.
  17. Barry J. Eichengreen & Donald J. Mathieson, 2000. "The Currency Composition of Foreign Exchange Reserves; Retrospect and Prospect," IMF Working Papers 00/131, International Monetary Fund.
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