Filippo di Mauro, Vlad Demian, Jan-Paul van de Kerke, 08 December 2017

It is well-established in theoretical and empirical models that an exchange rate movement affects exports, but we are far from a consensus on the size and relevance of this effect. Macro-based analyses tend to yield very low values for the elasticity of exports to the exchange rate, while micro- or sectoral-based estimations tends to be higher. This column shows that one reason for the disagreement is that macro estimations fail to incorporate the characteristics of the underlying distribution of firm productivity and its asymmetries. Doing so generates higher elasticity estimates than the macro estimations, and greater country-level diversification.

Clemens Jobst, Helmut Stix, 29 November 2017

Many societies in the developed world have been shifting away from cash towards electronic alternatives. Despite this, there has been a remarkable increase in currency holdings over the past decade. This column looks at the evolution of cash holdings over time to shed light on this apparent contradiction. While circulating currency over GDP has been declining since WWII, there have been sizable increases in recent decades which are only partially explained by low interest rates.

Glenn Hoggarth, Carsten Jung, Dennis Reinhardt, 07 July 2017

Partly as a result of the Global Crisis, assessments of capital inflows and their impact on market efficiency and technology transfer have begun to take into account their association with financial crises. This column argues that the riskiness of inflows depends on the type of lender and its currency denomination. It finds that equity flows are more stable than debt flows, non-banks more stable than banks, and local currency more stable than foreign. Macroprudential policies can support the stabilisation of inflows.

Yin-Wong Cheung, Menzie Chinn, Antonio Garcia Pascual, Yi Zhang, 27 April 2017

Previous assessments of nominal exchange rate determination have focused on a narrow set of models. Using data for six currencies, this column examines the performance of an expanded set of models at various forecast horizons. No model consistently outperforms a random walk benchmark, although the purchasing power parity model does fairly well. Overall, combinations of model, specification, and currency that work in one period will not necessarily work well in another.

Adrian Jäggi, Martin Schlegel, Attilio Zanetti, 18 January 2017

Identifying the exact triggers for safe-haven flows in not easy, nor is tracking the ways in which demand for safe havens materialises. This column uses an empirical analysis of movements of the Swiss franc and Japanese yen since 2000 to show that these safe-haven currencies reacted strongly to non-domestic macro surprises, especially during the Global Crisis, and that this is in addition to the expected reaction to general changes in the risk environment. Oddly, for European macro surprises, only German data influence safe-haven currencies.

Yin-Wong Cheung, Menzie Chinn, Xin Nong, 15 September 2016

As long as countries strive to reallocate aggregate demand in their own favour, disputes will arise regarding the degree to which currency values are 'fair'. This column argues that the Penn effect – the observation that the price level is higher in countries with higher per capita income – may not be a reliable method to discern the fair value of a currency. Different specifications and different datasets lead to different estimates of the degree of misalignment, for example for the Chinese renminbi.

Paul Bergin, Giancarlo Corsetti, 11 January 2016

Competitive devaluation is a long-standing idea in international macroeconomic theory. This column takes a step back from the current debate and assesses a different perspective on monetary and exchange rate policies. Strategic behaviour is shown to be detrimental from a global welfare perspective. Due to negative spillovers elsewhere, devaluations invite retaliation – which in turn reduces manufacturing at the global level. Monetary policy can provide a non-negligible contribution to fostering comparative advantage in high-value branded manufacturing goods by pursuing efficient macroeconomic stabilisation.

Javier Cravino, Andrei Levchenko, 23 November 2015

Large exchange rate swings remain a prominent and recurring feature of the world economy. This column uses household consumption patterns to examine the distributional impact of the devaluation of the peso during Mexico’s ‘Tequila Crisis’. Cost of living increases are found to be 1.25 to 1.6 times higher for the poor compared to the rich. In the interests of equity, exchange rate policy should take account of such distributional impacts.

Philip Lane, 07 September 2015

In the lead up to the global financial crisis, there was a substantial credit boom in advanced economies. In the Eurozone, cross-border flows played an especially important role in the boom-bust cycle. This column examines how the common currency and linkages between member states contributed to the Eurozone crisis. A very strong relationship between pre-crisis levels of external imbalances and macroeconomic performance since 2008 is observed. The findings point to the importance of delinking banks and sovereigns, and the need for macro-financial policies that manage the risks associated with excessive international debt flows.

Charles Goodhart, Jonathan Ashworth, 08 October 2014

Despite the growth of online and card payments, the ratio of currency to GDP in the UK has been rising. This column argues that rapid growth in the grey economy has been a key cause. The authors estimate that the grey economy in the UK could have expanded by around 3% of UK GDP since the beginning of the Global Crisis.

Linda Goldberg, Signe Krogstrup, John Lipsky, Hélène Rey, 26 July 2014

The dollar’s dominant role in international trade and finance has proved remarkably resilient. This column argues that financial stability – and the policy and institutional frameworks that underpin it – are important new determinants of currencies’ international roles. While old drivers still matter, progress achieved on financial-stability reforms in major currency areas will greatly influence the future roles of their currencies.

Giancarlo Corsetti, 06 November 2007

Classic analysis by Obstfeld and Rogoff says that the dollar still has a long way to fall. Some new theory and recent simulations suggests that US trade response may be bigger than expected and so the dollar may have fallen enough.

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