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Recent discussions of international monetary reform -- at the IMF and the G20 -- have emphasized the importance of increasing the financial depth of emerging markets. While deepening confers several benefits at the country level, it is also seen to enhance the stability of the international monetary system (IMS) as a whole—by raising the absorptive capacities of these economies to deal with volatile capital flows and expanding the menu of savings instruments, financial deepening in emerging markets is seen to attenuate external imbalances and the need for large precautionary reserve holdings. This paper will contribute to the IMS debate by examining the relationship of financial deepening in emerging markets with the stability of the IMS as a whole. It will analyze the patterns of deepening across economies, beyond the current focus in the debate on just local currency bond markets. It will assess the ways in which deepening may, or may not, attenuate some of the problems of the system, and will aim to draw policy lessons for strengthening IMS stability.

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