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How do central banks invest?

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How do central banks invest?

Embracing risk in official reserves

After a decade of unconventional monetary policy, one could be forgiven for confusion around central bank investment patterns. This report is a reminder that the core investment assets of central banks stem from the official reserve portfolio. Assigning clear nominal and relative numbers will help dispel some of the obscurity around the reserves management practices of this traditionally non-transparent group of global public investors.

In this study, OMFIF and State Street Global Advisors attempt to bridge existing data gaps by conducting a bottom-up estimate of the global reserve portfolio. We have studied the balance sheets of 30 large reserve holders at a detailed, granular level, using a mix of public and private information. Together, they manage $10.7tn in reserve assets, 80% of global central bank reserves.

This report also highlights how central banks have become significant capital markets participants in their own right. While risk assets have risen as a share of reserves, central banks remain small players in the overall market.

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