Balance Sheet Effects, Foreign Reserves and Public Policies
30 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2017
Date Written: December 15, 2015
This paper shows that countries can use foreign reserves to enhance their domestic economies’ resilience to potential risks from balance sheet effects. Based on a theoretical model, this paper demonstrates that the government can either deploy its foreign reserves to lend in foreign currency to the private sector or increase fiscal spending on domestic goods. Both these policy tools can remedy the bad equilibrium characterized by large-scale domestic currency depreciation and very low aggregate investment, but they diverge in how they stabilize the domestic economy and require different minimum amounts of foreign reserves. Targeted lending works by altering investors’ expectations of the domestic exchange rate and of firms’ net worth. As long as foreign reserves are sufficient to cover the private sector’s external debt, this approach eliminates the bad equilibrium without an actual depletion of reserves. In contrast, fiscal spending increases the demand for domestic goods and affects the relative price, leading to domestic exchange rate appreciation that subsequently increases firms’ net worth and facilitates investment.
Keywords: Foreign Reserves, Currency Mismatch, Balance Sheet Effects
JEL Classification: F31, F32, F41, G01
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation