Exchange rates

Ana Fernandes, L Alan Winters, 21 November 2018

Understanding the effect of exchange rate movements on international trade is a major issue for economists and policymakers. This column shows that Portuguese exporters absorbed little of the effect of the large and unanticipated depreciation of sterling following the Brexit referendum into their markups – the vast bulk of the effect of the depreciation was visited on UK users and consumers of Portuguese goods. The lesson for the UK as it contemplates life after Brexit is that it is, in the technical sense, a ‘small open economy’ and will have little ability to negotiate or otherwise achieve better trading terms.

Alex Cukierman, 02 November 2018

The size and nature of an economy have a crucial influence on the measures that can be taken in response to major shocks. This column investigates the forex interventions taken by Switzerland and Israel – two small, open economies – in the wake of the Global Crisis. While discretionary interventions are shown to be preferable when policy rates are strictly positive, this is no longer valid when the effective lower bound is reached and unconventional monetary policy is called for. The transfer of reserve management to a sovereign wealth fund is also discussed. 

Yossi Saadon, Nathan Sussman, 31 October 2018

Global integration has increased rapidly over recent decades, leaving basic theories of exchange rate equilibrium ripe for reconsideration. This column tests two such theories – purchasing power parity and uncovered interest rate parity – using the case of the advanced, small open economy of Israel and the US. The results show that when the necessary conditions are met, the purchasing power parity and uncovered interest rate parity relationships continue to hold in the short run. 

Francois de Soyres, Erik Frohm, Vanessa Gunnella, Elena Pavlova, 09 October 2018

When a country’s currency depreciates, its export volumes are expected to increase. Yet some recent episodes suggest that exports now barely respond to significant exchange rate movements. This column argues that global value chains are an important part of the answer, as countries now need to import to export, and often re-import their exports. To assess the consequences of international input-output linkages on exchange rate elasticities, policymakers need indices of global value chain participation based on currencies rather than countries.

Laura Alfaro, Alejandro Cuñat, Harald Fadinger, Yanping Liu, 02 October 2018

Real exchange rate devaluations are typically seen as a viable development strategy, but the effectiveness of the approach may vary over time and across countries. This column explores this issue by focusing on the microeconomics of firm-level responses to exchange rate fluctuations. Results show varying patterns of responses to fluctuations by region and by import/export orientation. These results highlight the crucial role of a firm’s integration in global value chains.

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