The Dataset of the Currency Composition of Foreign Exchange Reserves


Hiro Ito

Portland State University

Robert N. McCauley

Boston University and University of Oxford

To be introduced in the summer of 2021!


Dataset in Excel format (under construction)

Dataset in STATA format (under construction)


Ito and McCauley (2020) introduce a new dataset on the currency composition of foreign exchange reserves. The aggregated data of the currency composition of international reserves is available only for the entire world, the group of advanced economies, and that of emerging economies from the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) currency composition of official foreign exchange reserves (COFER). However, such data are not publicly available for individual countries. They overcome the data constraint by collecting the data from central banks’ annual reports, financial statements, and other publicly available information sources and construct the dataset of the currency composition of international reserves for 75 economies in the 1999-2020 period.

This dataset allows us to observe the development of reserve management over time for individual economies. It also includes the data for the United States and the euro-area countries.

Their dataset provides a sample size between those of extant small-sample studies ((McCauley and Chan (2014), Ito et al. (2015), Gopinath and Stein (2018b) and Lu and Wang (2019)) and the dated but near-exhaustive IMF studies (Heller and Knight (1978), Dooley et al. (1989) and Eichengreen and Mathieson (2000)).

The data coverage is also greater and more recent compared to Iancu, et al. (2020).

Aizenman, Ito, and Pasricha (2021) and Chinn, Ito, and McCauley (2021) use the dataset.


Aizenman, J., H. Ito, and G. Kaur Pasricha (2021): “Central Bank Swap Arrangements in the COVID-19 Crisis. NBER Working Paper No. 28585.

Chinn, M., H. Ito, and R.N. McCauley (2021): “How Does Currency Choice for Trade Invoicing and FX Reserves Respond To Exchange Rate Shocks and Uncertainties?”, mimeo.

Dooley, M (1987): An analysis of the management of the currency composition of reserve assets and external liabilities of developing countries. In R Aliber, ed, The reconstruction of international monetary arrangements, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Macmillan, pp 262-280.

Eichengreen, B and D Mathieson (2000): “The currency composition of foreign exchange reserves: retrospect and prospect”, IMF Working Papers, no 00/131, July.

Gopinath, G and J Stein (2018): Trade invoicing, bank funding, and central bank reserve holdings” American Economic Review, vol 108, May, pp 542-546.

Heller, H and M Knight (1978): “Reserve currency preferences of central banks”, Princeton Essays in International Finance, no 131, December.

Iancu, A., G. Anderson, S. Ando, E. Boswell, A. Gamba, S. Hakobyan, L. Lusinyan, N. Meads, Y. Wu (2020): “Reserve currencies in an evolving international monetary system”, IMF Departmental Paper 2020/002, 17 November.

Ito, H, R McCauley and T Chan (2015): “Emerging market currency composition of reserves, denomination of trade and currency movements”, Emerging Markets Review, December, pp 16-19.

Lu, Y and Y Wang (2019): “Determinants of Currency Composition of Reserves: a Portfolio Theory Approach with an Application to RMB”, IMF Working Paper WP/19/52, March.

McCauley, R and T Chan (2014): “Currency movements drive reserve composition”, BIS Quarterly Review, December, pp 23-36.


Update on 7/10/2021