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.
This paper provides a theoretical underpinning for the major determinants of optimal reserve demand in the case where fundamental disequilibrium constitutes a key element governing reserve management. Emphasis is given to the role of reserves to smooth the process of economic adjustment by financing part of external disequilibrium, as well as to meet temporary random fluctuations in the excess demand for foreign exchange. The analysis incorporates this financing aspect of reserve holdings into a simple inventory model and discusses the optimal stock of reserves in the context of the optimal mix of adjustment and financing.