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This work determines the optimal reserves to short term debt ratio of an exporting economy indebted in foreign currency and suggests possible remedies to reduce it. Theoretical results and numerical simulations establish that the ratios recently observed reflect the increasing weight assigned to the risk of firms going bankrupt. They also establish that neither a lower risk premium charged by international lenders nor a lower exchange rate volatility reduce the stock of reserves significantly. Full elimination of the need to hold reserves to prevent financial crises should rely either on limiting foreign capital inflow or on reforming the international monetary system.