Dealing with Volatile Capital Flows

Policy Brief
10-18
July 2010

Olivier JeanneThe tools and mechanisms with which emerging-market countries insure themselves against volatile capital flows are in a state of flux. Most emerging-market countries had accumulated an unprecedented level of international reserves before the 2008 global financial crisis. The crisis itself led to a large increase in International Monetary Fund (IMF) resources and the introduction of a new lending facility, the Flexible Credit Line. Meanwhile, some progress was made toward transforming the Chiang Mai Initiative into an Asian Monetary Fund, and the Greek debt crisis even prompted calls for the creation of a European Monetary Fund. How have emerging-market countries dealt with capital flow volatility in the current crisis? What is the appropriate level of reserves for emerging-market countries? How can international crisis-lending and liquidity-provision arrangements be improved? What role can financial regulation and capital controls play in dealing with volatile capital flows? Olivier Jeanne discusses these and other important questions that are useful to keep in mind when thinking about the reform of international liquidity provision for emerging-market countries to deal with volatile capital flows. Jeanne concludes that the IMF and the international community should make more efforts to establish normative rules for the appropriate level of prudential reserves in emerging-market and developing countries and actively develop with its members a code of good practice for prudential capital controls.