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Shifting Motives; Explaining the Buildup in official Reserves in Emerging Markets Since the 1980's

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  • Atish R. Ghosh
  • Jonathan David Ostry
  • Charalambos G Tsangarides

Abstract

Why have emerging market economies (EMEs) been stockpiling international reserves? We find that motives have varied over time?vulnerability to current account shocks was relatively important in the 1980s but, as EMEs have become more financially integrated, factors related to the magnitude of potential capital outflows have gained in importance. Reserve accumulation as a by-product of undervalued currencies has also become more important since the Asian crisis. Correspondingly, using quantile regressions, we find that the reason for holding reserves varies according to the country's position in the global reserves distribution. High reserve holders, who tend to be more financially integrated, are motivated by insurance against capital account rather than current account shocks, and are more sensitive to the cost of holding reserves than are low-reserve holders. Currency undervaluation is a significant determinant across the reserves distribution, albeit for different reasons.

Suggested Citation

  • Atish R. Ghosh & Jonathan David Ostry & Charalambos G Tsangarides, 2012. "Shifting Motives; Explaining the Buildup in official Reserves in Emerging Markets Since the 1980's," IMF Working Papers 12/34, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:12/34
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    Cited by:

    1. Javier Bianchi & Juan Carlos Hatchondo & Leonardo Martinez, 2012. "International Reserves and Rollover Risk," NBER Working Papers 18628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Alberola, Enrique & Erce, Aitor & Serena, José Maria, 2016. "International reserves and gross capital flows dynamics," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 151-171.
    3. Benigno, Gianluca & Fornaro, Luca, 2012. "Reserve accumulation, growth and financial crises," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51506, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Ghosh, Atish R. & Ostry, Jonathan D. & Tsangarides, Charalambos G., 2014. "Accounting for emerging market countries' international reserves: Are Pacific Rim countries different?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(PA), pages 52-82.
    5. Bayoumi, Tamim & Gagnon, Joseph & Saborowski, Christian, 2015. "Official financial flows, capital mobility, and global imbalances," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 146-174.
    6. Florian Brugger, 2015. "Asia’s Reserve Accumulation: Part of a New Paradigm," Working Paper Series, Social and Economic Sciences 2015-03, Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Karl-Franzens-University Graz.
    7. Zineddine Alla, 2017. "Optimal policies in International Macroeconomics," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/6kvjk9o32n8, Sciences Po.
    8. Gurnain Kaur Pasricha, 2017. "Policy Rules for Capital Controls," BIS Working Papers 670, Bank for International Settlements.
    9. repec:eee:dyncon:v:90:y:2018:i:c:p:284-309 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Gurnain Pasricha, 2017. "Policy Rules for Capital Controls," Staff Working Papers 17-42, Bank of Canada.
    11. Nkunde Mwase, 2012. "How much should I hold? Reserve Adequacy in Emerging Markets and Small Islands," IMF Working Papers 12/205, International Monetary Fund.
    12. Luis Cabezas & José De Gregorio, 2018. "Accumulation of Reserves in Emerging and Developing Countries: Mercantilism vs. Insurance," Working Papers wp467, University of Chile, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Central banks and their policies; Current account; Capital account; Economic models; Economic integration; External shocks; Emerging markets; Exchange rate regimes; Financial crisis; Mercantilism; International reserves; Foreign exchange; Risk management; Reserves accumulation; Precautionary demand; Quantile Regression; exchange rate; reserve holdings; short-term debt; exchange rate regime; Economic Growth of Open Economies;

    JEL classification:

    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies

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