Reversibility of Different Types of Capital Flows to Emerging Markets
Most of the emerging market currency crises are accompanied by sharp reversals or “sudden stops” of capital inflows. We investigated whether some types of capital flows are more likely to reverse than others during these crises. Foreign direct investment is usually considered stable while portfolio investment is frequently depicted as the least reliable type of flow. Recent statistical testing has yielded conflicting results on this issue. We argue that a major problem with recent studies is that the degree of variability of capital flows during normal or inflow periods may give little clue to their behavior during crises and it is the latter that is most important for policy. Using data for 35 emerging economies for 1990 through 2003, we confirm that direct investment is the most stable category, but find that private loans on average are as reversible as portfolio flows.
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