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.

Saleem Bahaj, Ricardo Reis, 25 September 2018

Swap lines between advanced economy central banks are a new and important part of the global financial architecture. This column analyses their role, from the perspective of central banks, in the transmission of monetary policy, and in the macroeconomic effects of policy. Results show that swap lines serve as liquidity facilities, that they put a ceiling on deviations from covered interest parity, and that they incentivise cross-border gross capital flows. 

Matteo Maggiori, Brent Neiman, Jesse Schreger, 18 June 2018

Currency is a far more important factor for cross-border capital flows than is typically assumed. This column demonstrates that investors exhibit a strong bias toward securities denominated in their home currency even when investing in bonds issued by developed countries, implying that the majority of foreign firms that do not issue foreign currency bonds typically do not borrow from abroad directly. A key exception to this pattern is the US, as the global taste for dollars enables smaller firms that issue only dollar-denominated bonds to access foreign capital. The benefit that the dollar’s status offers the US appears to have increased since the Global Crisis at the expense of the euro.

Antonio Fatás, Beatrice Weder di Mauro, 07 May 2018

Economists have been dismissive of cryptocurrencies, but fintech entrepreneurs and enthusiasts continue to see their disruptive potential. This column considers the theoretical and practical arguments on both sides of the debate. Traditional currencies are overwhelmingly superior as forms of money, and cryptocurrencies’ advantage in terms of lax regulation is unlikely to last. There remains, however, ample potential for innovation in payment systems.

Michele Ca' Zorzi, Jakub Mućk, Michał Rubaszek, 13 February 2015

Notwithstanding the progress made in the field of exchange rate economics, we still know very little of what drives major currencies. This column argues that the best that one can do is to assume that currencies move to gradually restore (relative) purchasing power parity. Contrary to widely held beliefs, this is in general a much better strategy than to just assume that the exchange rate behaves like a random walk. 

Maurizio Habib, Livio Stracca, 30 January 2011

What makes a safe-haven currency? This column analyses a panel of 52 currencies in advanced and emerging countries over the past 25 years. It finds that safe-haven status is not determined by the interest rate spread, as emphasised in the carry trade literature, but by the net foreign asset position, which is an indicator of country risk and external vulnerability.

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