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The Case for an International Reserve Diversification Standard


  • Edwin M. Truman

    () (Peterson Institute for International Economics)

  • Anna Wong

    (Peterson 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Edwin M. Truman & Anna Wong, 2006. "The Case for an International Reserve Diversification Standard," Working Paper Series WP06-2, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:iie:wpaper:wp06-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Papaioannou, Elias & Portes, Richard & Siourounis, Gregorios, 2006. "Optimal currency shares in international reserves: The impact of the euro and the prospects for the dollar," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 508-547, December.
    2. Leontyeva, Elena & Narkevich, Sergey, 2015. "Optimal Practice of Creation and Management of Gold Reserves," Published Papers mak12, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
    3. Philip R. Lane & Jay C. Shambaugh, 2010. "Financial Exchange Rates and International Currency Exposures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 518-540, March.
    4. Gabriele Galati & Philip Wooldridge, 2009. "The euro as a reserve currency: a challenge to the pre-eminence of the US dollar?," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(1), pages 1-23.
    5. Gian M Milesi-Ferretti & Natalia T. Tamirisa & Francesco Strobbe, 2010. "Bilateral Financial Linkages and Global Imbalances; a View on The Eve of the Financial Crisis," IMF Working Papers 10/257, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Philip D Wooldridge, 2006. "The changing composition of official reserves," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, September.
    7. Dominguez, Kathryn M.E. & Hashimoto, Yuko & Ito, Takatoshi, 2012. "International reserves and the global financial crisis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 388-406.
    8. Eichengreen, Barry & Livia, Chitu & Mehl, Arnaud, 2014. "Stability or upheaval? The currency composition of international reserves in the long run," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 201, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    9. Hyoung-kyu Chey, 2013. "The Concepts, Consequences, and Determinants of Currency Internationalization," GRIPS Discussion Papers 13-03, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
    10. Chiţu, Livia & Eichengreen, Barry & Mehl, Arnaud, 2014. "When did the dollar overtake sterling as the leading international currency? Evidence from the bond markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 225-245.
    11. Claudio Borio & Gabriele Galati & Alexandra Heath, 2008. "FX reserve management: trends and challenges," BIS Papers, Bank for International Settlements, number 40, february.
    12. Sergey Narkevich & Pavel Trunin, 2012. "Reserve Currencies: Factors of Evolution and their Role in the World Economy," Research Paper Series, Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, issue 162P.
    13. Philip R. Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2007. "Europe and global imbalances," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 22, pages 519-573, July.
    14. Benjamin J. Cohen, 2009. "Dollar Dominance, Euro Aspirations: Recipe for Discord?," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47, pages 741-766, September.
    15. 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.
    16. Barry Eichengreen & Masahiro Kawai, 2014. "Issues for Renminbi Internationalization : An Overview," Finance Working Papers 23961, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    17. Hermann Remsperger & Adalbert Winkler, 2009. "Welchen Einfluss hat der Wechselkurs auf die internationale Rolle von US-Dollar und Euro?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 10(1), pages 21-38, February.
    18. André Cartapanis, 2009. "Le dollar incontesté ? Économie politique d’une monnaie internationale," Revue d'Économie Financière, Programme National Persée, vol. 94(1), pages 135-150.
    19. Enrique Alberola & José María Serena, 2007. "Global financial integration, monetary policy and reserve accumulation. Assessing the limits in emerging economies," Working Papers 0706, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    20. Anna Wong, 2007. "Measurement and Inference in International Reserve Diversification," Working Paper Series WP07-6, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    21. Pietro Cova & Patrizio Pagano & Massimiliano Pisani, 2014. "Foreign exchange reserve diversification and the "exorbitant privilege"," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 964, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    22. Barry Eichengreen & Arnaud J. Mehl & Livia Chitu, 2017. "Mars or Mercury? The Geopolitics of International Currency Choice," NBER Working Papers 24145, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Elias Papaioannou & Richard Portes, 2008. "The international role of the euro: a status report," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 317, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.

    More about this item


    Foreign Exchange Reserves; Central Banks; International Investment and Long-Term Capital Movements; International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions;

    JEL classification:

    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions

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