Determinants of Currency Composition of Reserves: A Portfolio Theory Approach with an Application to RMB

45 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2019

See all articles by Yinqiu Lu

Yinqiu Lu

International Monetary Fund

Yilin Wang

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Date Written: March 2019

Abstract

The way central banks manage their foreign reserve assets has evolved over the past decades. One major trend is managing reserves in two or more tranches-liquidity tranche and investment tranche-especially for those with adequate reserves. Incorporating reserve tranching, we have developed in this paper a central bank's reserve portfolio choice model to analyze the determinants of the currency composition of reserves. In particular, we adopt the classical mean-variance framework for the investment tranche and the asset-liability framework for the liquidity tranche. Building onthese frameworks, the roles of currency compositions in imports invoicing and short-term external debt, and risk and returns of reserve currencies can be quantified by our structural model-a key contribution of our paper given the absence of structural models in the literature. Finally, we estimate the potential paths of the share of RMB in reserves under different scenarios to shed light on its status as an international currency.

Keywords: Central banks, Capital account convertibility, Central bank aggregates, Investment policy, Monetary authorities, currency composition, FX reserves, portfolio theory, RMB, numeraire, domestic currency, reserve currency, invoice

JEL Classification: C58, F37, G11, G17, G21, E01, G12, E52, E5

Suggested Citation

Lu, Yinqiu and Wang, Yilin, Determinants of Currency Composition of Reserves: A Portfolio Theory Approach with an Application to RMB (March 2019). IMF Working Paper No. 19/52. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3367437

Yinqiu Lu (Contact Author)

International Monetary Fund ( email )

700 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20431
United States

Yilin Wang

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

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