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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. Kathryn M.E. Dominguez & Linda L. Tesar, 2001. "Exchange Rate Exposure," NBER Working Papers 8453, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Maurice Obstfeld and Kenneth Rogoff., 2000. "The Six Major Puzzles in International Macroeconomics: Is There a Common Cause?," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C00-112, University of California at Berkeley.
  3. 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.
  4. Nicolas Coeurdacier & Robert Kollmann & Philippe Martin, 2009. "International Portfolios with Supply, Demand and Redistributive Shocks," NBER Chapters, in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2007, pages 231-263 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Anna Pavlova & Roberto Rigobon, 2007. "Asset Prices and Exchange Rates," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 20(4), pages 1139-1180.
  8. Julian di Giovanni & Jay C. Shambaugh, 2006. "The Impact of Foreign Interest Rateson the Economy; The Role of the Exchange Rate Regime," IMF Working Papers 06/37, International Monetary Fund.
  9. 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.
  10. Charles Engel & Akito Matsumoto, 2006. "Portfolio Choice in a Monetary Open-Economy DSGE Model," NBER Working Papers 12214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. 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.
  13. Lane, Philip R. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2000. "External Capital Structure: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 2583, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. 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.
  15. Devereux, Michael B & Saito, Makoto, 2006. "A Portfolio Theory of International Capital Flows," CEPR Discussion Papers 5746, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Cedric Tille & Eric van Wincoop, 2007. "International Capital Flows," Working Papers 122007, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  17. Torsten Persson & Lars E.O. Svensson, 1989. "Exchange Rate Variability And Asset Trade," NBER Working Papers 2811, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. 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.
  19. 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).
  20. 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).
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