Exchange rates

Felipe Benguria, Alan M. Taylor, 03 March 2020

A perennial and fundamental macroeconomic question is whether financial crises are negative demand or supply shocks. This column discusses how the response of international trade flows and prices to financial crises can shed light on the debate. Evidence based on a new dataset of two centuries of financial crises and trade suggests financial crises are clearly negative shocks to demand.

Paolo Manasse, Graziano Moramarco, Giulio Trigilia, 17 February 2020

The pound depreciated overnight by about 7% against the euro and other main currencies following the Leave victory in the UK’s EU referendum, suggesting that the markets expected Brexit to harm the British economy. Yet currency markets hailed the overwhelming victory of Brexiter Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party in the 2019 general election with a 2% appreciation of the pound. This column argues that this apparent contradiction can be explained by disentangling the effects that politics has on exchange rate expectations and a political risk premium.

Andrew Lilley, Matteo Maggiori, Brent Neiman, Jesse Schreger, 24 January 2020

The ‘exchange rate disconnect’ describes the difficulty of explaining exchange rate movements using classical models and fundamentals. This column presents evidence of an ‘exchange rate reconnect’ – a substantial co-movement of the US dollar with global risk premia and US foreign bond purchases since the Global Crisis. Though short-lived, this relationship between these factors could shed new light on the nature of financial crises and risk.

Yuqing Xing, 11 November 2019

In order to pursue ‘fair trade’, the Trump administration has imposed a punitive 25% tariff on $250 billion’s worth of Chinese goods. However, conventional trade statistics greatly exaggerate the US trade deficit with China. This column uses the iPhone as an example to demonstrate how the trade deficit is inflated and why value-added should be used to assess the bilateral trade balance. If multinational enterprises, including Apple, shift part of their value chains out of China, China may no longer play a central role in global value chains targeting the US market. Depreciation of the yuan will be insufficient to counter the effect. 

Willem Thorbecke, 06 November 2019

As the trade surpluses of East Asian countries have continued to exist in regional value chains despite the US-China trade war, one possible tool such economies could employ are currency appreciations. This column shows how exchange rates in upstream countries affect China’s exports. No single economy wants to appreciate its currency against the US dollar for fear of losing competitiveness, but a concerted effort to prioritise regional currencies could benefit the set of countries as a whole.

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