NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

International Reserves Management and the Current Account

Joshua Aizenman

NBER Working Paper No. 12734
Issued in December 2006
NBER Program(s):   ITI   IFM

The paper assesses the costs and benefits of active international reserve management (IRM), shedding light on the question of how intense should IRM be for an emerging market. In principle, an active IRM strategy could lower real exchange rate volatility induced by terms of trade shocks; provide self insurance against sudden stops; reduce the speed of adjustment of the current account; and even allow for higher growth if it fosters exports ("mercantilist" motive). The message of the report is mixed -- management of reserves is not a panacea. The mercantilist case for hoarding international reserves, as an ingredient of an export led growth strategy, is dubious. Done properly, IRM augments macro economic management in turbulent times, mitigating the impact of external adverse shocks and allowing for a smoother current account adjustment. These benefits are especially important for commodity exporting countries, and countries with limited financial development.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12734

Published:

  • Aizenman, Joshua & Lee, Yeonho & Rhee, Youngseop, 2007. "International reserves management and capital mobility in a volatile world: Policy considerations and a case study of Korea," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 1-15, March. ,
  • Joshua Aizenman, 2008. "International Reserve Management and the Current Account," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Kevin Cowan & Sebastián Edwards & Rodrigo O. Valdés & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmid (ed.), Current Account and External Financing, edition 1, volume 12, chapter 11, pages 435-474 Central Bank of Chile.

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