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Central Banks and Gold Puzzles

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  • Joshua Aizenman
  • Kenta Inoue

Abstract

We study the curious patterns of gold holding and trading by central banks during 1979-2010. With the exception of several discrete step adjustments, central banks keep maintaining passive stocks of gold, independently of the patterns of the real price of gold. We also observe the synchronization of gold sales by central banks, as most reduced their positions in tandem, and their tendency to report international reserves valuation excluding gold positions. Our analysis suggests that the intensity of holding gold is correlated with 'global power' - by the history of being a past empire, or by the sheer size of a country, especially by countries that are or were the suppliers of key currencies. These results are consistent with the view that central bank's gold position signals economic might, and that gold retains the stature of a 'safe haven' asset at times of global turbulence. The under-reporting of gold positions in the international reserve/GDP statistics is consistent with loss aversion, wishing to maintain a sizeable gold position, while minimizing the criticism that may occur at a time when the price of gold declines.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua Aizenman & Kenta Inoue, 2012. "Central Banks and Gold Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 17894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17894 Note: IFM ITI
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Aizenman, Joshua & Inoue, Kenta, 2013. "Central banks and gold puzzles," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 69-90.
    2. Beckmann, Joscha & Berger, Theo & Czudaj, Robert, 2015. "Does gold act as a hedge or a safe haven for stocks? A smooth transition approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 16-24.
    3. Beckmann, Joscha & Czudaj, Robert, 2013. "Gold as an inflation hedge in a time-varying coefficient framework," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 208-222.
    4. Joscha Beckmann & Robert Czudaj, 2012. "Gold as an Infl ation Hedge in a Time-Varying Coeffi cient Framework," Ruhr Economic Papers 0362, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    5. Aye, Goodness C. & Chang, Tsangyao & Gupta, Rangan, 2016. "Is gold an inflation-hedge? Evidence from an interrupted Markov-switching cointegration model," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 77-84.
    6. repec:zbw:rwirep:0502 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Hanan Naser, 2017. "Can Gold Investments Provide a Good Hedge Against Inflation? An Empirical Analysis," International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues, Econjournals, vol. 7(1), pages 470-475.
    8. Gopalakrishnan, Balagopal & Mohapatra, Sanket, 2017. "Global Risk and Demand for Gold by Central Banks," IIMA Working Papers WP 2017-01-01, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
    9. Gopalakrishnan, Balagopal & Mohapatra, Sanket, 2017. "Turning Over a Golden Leaf? Global Liquidity and Emerging Market Central Banks’ Demand for Gold after the Financial Crisis," IIMA Working Papers WP 2017-04-02, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
    10. Aye, Goodness C. & Carcel, Hector & Gil-Alana, Luis A. & Gupta, Rangan, 2017. "Does gold act as a hedge against inflation in the UK? Evidence from a fractional cointegration approach over 1257 to 2016," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 53-57.
    11. Gutiérrez, Martha & Franco, Giovanni & Campuzano, Carlos, 2013. "Gold prices: Analyzing its cyclical behavior," REVISTA LECTURAS DE ECONOMÍA, UNIVERSIDAD DE ANTIOQUIA - CIE, issue 79, pages 113-142, September.
    12. Joscha Beckmann & Theo Berger & Robert Czudaj, 2014. "Does Gold Act as a Hedge or a Safe Haven for Stocks? A Smooth Transition Approach," Ruhr Economic Papers 0502, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    13. repec:zbw:rwirep:0362 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions

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