Holding International Reserves in an Era of High Capital Mobility

Author/Editor:

Robert P Flood ; Nancy P. Marion

Publication Date:

April 1, 2002

Electronic Access:

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Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF.The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate

Summary:

Why do countries hold so much international reserves? Global reserve holdings (excluding gold) were equivalent to 17 weeks of imports at the end of 1999. That is almost double what they were at the end of 1960 and about 20 percent higher than they were at the start of the 1990s. In this paper we study countries’ reserve holdings in light of both the increased financial volatility experienced in the last decade and diminished adherence to fixed exchange rates. We find that buffer-stock reserve models work about as well in the modern floating-rate period as they did during the Bretton Woods regime. During both periods, however, the models’ fundamentals explain only a small portion (10-15 percent) of reserves volatility.

Series:

Working Paper No. 02/62

Subject:

English

Publication Date:

April 1, 2002

ISBN/ISSN:

9781451848298/1018-5941

Stock No:

WPIEA0622002

Format:

Paper

Pages:

53

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