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

  • Philip R. Lane
  • Jay C. Shambaugh

A major focus of the recent literature on the determination of optimal portfolios in open-economy macroeconomic models 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 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14909.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
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Publication status: published as Lane, Philip R. & Shambaugh, Jay C., 2010. "The long or short of it: Determinants of foreign currency exposure in external balance sheets," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 33-44, January.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14909
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  1. Philip R. Lane & Gian Milesi-Ferretti, 2000. "External Capital Structure; Theory and Evidence," IMF Working Papers 00/152, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Nicolas Coeurdacier & Robert Kollmann & Philippe Martin, 2009. "International portfolios with supply, demand and redistributive shocks," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/c8dmi8nm4pd, Sciences Po.
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  5. Michael B. Devereux & Makoto Saito, 2006. "A Portfolio Theory of International Capital Flows," Working Papers 112006, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
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  10. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 2001. "The Six Major Puzzles in International Macroeconomics: Is There a Common Cause?," International Trade 0012003, EconWPA.
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  13. 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.
  14. Lars E.O. Svensson, 1987. "Trade in Nominal Assets: Monetary Policy, and Price Level and Exchange Rate Risk," NBER Working Papers 2417, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Jay C. Shambaugh, 2004. "The Effect of Fixed Exchange Rates on Monetary Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 301-352.
  16. 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.
  17. André Faria & Philip R. Lane & Paolo Mauro & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2007. "The Shifting Composition of External Liabilities," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp190, IIIS.
  18. Dominguez, Kathryn M.E. & Tesar, Linda L., 2006. "Exchange rate exposure," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 188-218, January.
  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. 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.
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