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Optimal Foreign Reserves: The Case of Croatia
This paper develops a simple model of precautionary foreign reserves in a dollarized economy subject to a sudden stop shock that occurs concurrently with a bank run. By including specific features of the Croatian economy in our model we extend the framework of Goncalves (2007). An analytical expression of optimal reserves is derived and calibrated for Croatia in order to evaluate the adequacy of the Croatian National Bank foreign reserves. We show that the precautionary demand for reserves is consistent with the trend of the strong accumulation of foreign reserves over the last ten years. Whether this trend has been too strong or whether the actual reserves are lower than the optimal reserves depends on the possible reaction of the parent banks during a crisis. We show that for plausible values of parameters, the Croatian National Bank has enough reserves to fight a possible crisis of the magnitude of the 1998/1999 sudden stop with a banking crisis episode. This result holds regardless of the parent banks’ reaction. We also show how use of the two standard indicators of “optimal” reserves, the Greenspan-Guidotti and the 3-months-of-imports rules, might lead to an unrealistic assessment of foreign reserves optimality in the case of Croatia.
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