The Impact of Public Debt on Foreign Exchange Reserves and Central Bank Profitability: The Case of Hungary

13 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2013

Date Written: October 1, 2012


This paper focuses on the interactions between public debt policy and foreign exchange reserve management. We found that, although foreign currency debt issuance can contribute significantly to the growth of foreign exchange reserves, it can cause serious difficulties in the assessment of reserve adequacy, especially during crisis periods. Furthermore, it affects the profit-loss of the central bank. On the other hand, the accumulation of foreign exchange reserves may affect the public deficit and debt as well. Based on these observations, we draw several lessons. We conclude that debt management policy may result in a suboptimal solution on a consolidated basis if the needs of reserve adequacy are not taken into account within the decision-making process for foreign currency debt issuance. In addition, we argue that, if the central bank wants to enhance its capacity to intervene during a crisis, it should seek to identify and utilise other sources of foreign exchange liquidity. But the options here are limited: we believe that the most appropriate tool that would enable a central bank such as the MNB to rapidly obtain an ample amount of foreign exchange reserves is a foreign exchange swap line provided by a developed country central bank.

Full publication: Fiscal Policy, Public Debt and Monetary policy in Emerging Market Economies

Keywords: Monetary policy, fiscal policy, public debt management, national budget, sovereign debt, foreign exchange reserve

JEL Classification: E52, E58, E62, E63, H63

Suggested Citation

Settlements, Bank for International, The Impact of Public Debt on Foreign Exchange Reserves and Central Bank Profitability: The Case of Hungary (October 1, 2012). BIS Paper No. 67l, Available at SSRN:

Bank for International Settlements (Contact Author)

Bank for International Settlements (BIS) ( email )

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Basel, Basel-Stadt 4051

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