The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
A quantitative framework is developed to bring forward the insurance motive of holding international reserves. The insurance value of reserves is quantified as the market price of an equivalent option that provides the same insurance coverage as the reserves. This quantitative framework is applied to calculating the cost of a regional insurance arrangement (e.g., an Asian Monetary Fund) and to analyzing one leg of an optimal reserve-holding decision.