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The Long or Short of it: Determinants of Foreign Currency Exposure in External Balance Sheets

  • Philip R. Lane and Jay C. Shambaugh

Recently, there have been numerous advances in modelling optimal international portfolio allocations in macroeconomic models. A major focus of this literature has been on the role of currency movements in determining portfolio returns that may hedge various macroeconomic shocks. However, there is little empirical evidence on the foreign currency exposures that are embedded in international balance sheets. Using a new database, we provide stylized facts concerning the cross-country and time-series variation in aggregate foreign currency exposure and its various subcomponents. In panel estimation, we find that richer, more open economies take longer foreign-currency positions. In addition, we find that an increase in the propensity for a currency to depreciate during bad times is associated with a longer position in foreign currencies, providing a hedge against domestic output fluctuations. We view these new stylized facts as informative in their own right and also potentially useful to the burgeoning theoretical literature on the macroeconomics of international portfolios.

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Paper provided by IIIS in its series The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series with number iiisdp253.

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Date of creation: 20 Jun 2008
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Handle: RePEc:iis:dispap:iiisdp253
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  1. Lane, Philip R. & Shambaugh, Jay C., 2008. "Financial exchange rates and international currency exposures," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2008,22, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  2. Devereux, Michael B & Saito, Makoto, 2006. "A Portfolio Theory of International Capital Flows," CEPR Discussion Papers 5746, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 2001. "The Six Major Puzzles in International Macroeconomics: Is There a Common Cause?," International Trade 0012003, EconWPA.
  4. Philip R. Lane & Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2000. "External Capital Structure: Theory and Evidence," IMF Working Papers 00/152, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Anna Pavlova & Roberto Rigobon, 2007. "Asset Prices and Exchange Rates," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 20(4), pages 1139-1180.
  6. Jay C. Shambaugh & Julian di Giovanni, 2006. "The Impact of Foreign Interest Rates on the Economy: The Role of the Exchange Rate Regime," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp116, IIIS.
  7. Jay C. Shambaugh, 2004. "The Effect of Fixed Exchange Rates on Monetary Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 300-351, February.
  8. Soyoung Kim, 2002. "Nominal Revaluation of Cross-Border Assets, Terms-of-Trade Changes, International Portfolio Diversification, and International Risk Sharing," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 327-344, October.
  9. Neumeyer, P.A., 1995. "Currencies and the Allocation of Risk: The Welfare Effect of a Monetary Union," DELTA Working Papers 95-27, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
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  11. Kathryn M.E. Dominguez & Linda L. Tesar, 2001. "Exchange Rate Exposure," NBER Working Papers 8453, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Akito Matsumoto & Charles Engel, 2005. "Portfolio Choice in a Monetary Open-Economy DSGE Model," IMF Working Papers 05/165, International Monetary Fund.
  13. Michael B. Devereux & Alan Sutherland, 2008. "Country portfolios in open economy macro models," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 09, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  14. Persson, Torsten & Svensson, Lars E. O., 1989. "Exchange rate variability and asset trade," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 485-509, May.
  15. Nicolas Coeurdacier & Robert Kollmann & Philippe Martin, 2009. "International portfolios with supply, demand and redistributive shocks," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/c8dmi8nm4pd, Sciences Po.
  16. Svensson, Lars E. O., 1989. "Trade in nominal assets : Monetary policy, and price level and exchange rate risk," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1-2), pages 1-28, February.
  17. Edwards, Sebastian, 2007. "Capital controls, capital flow contractions, and macroeconomic vulnerability," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 814-840, September.
  18. Charles Engel & Akito Matsumoto, 2009. "The International Diversification Puzzle When Goods Prices Are Sticky: It's Really about Exchange-Rate Hedging, Not Equity Portfolios," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 155-88, July.
  19. Cedric Tille, 2003. "The impact of exchange rate movements on U.S. foreign debt," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 9(Jan).
  20. André Faria & Philip R. Lane & Paolo Mauro & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2007. "The Shifting Composition of External Liabilities," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(2-3), pages 480-490, 04-05.
  21. Helpman, Elhanan & Razin, Assaf, 1982. "A Comparison of Exchange Rate Regimes in the Presence of Imperfect Capital Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 23(2), pages 365-88, June.
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