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Rational speculators and exchange rate volatility

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  • C.L. Osler
  • John A. Carlson

Abstract

This paper examines whether rational, fully informed speculators will smooth exchange rates. Friedman's (1953) claim that they must do so is challenged, based on the exclusion of interest rate differentials from his interpretation of speculator behavior. Once one recognizes that interest rates matter to speculators, it becomes apparent that rational speculators could sometimes violate Friedman's description of their behavior, and buy currency when its value is relatively high or sell currency when its value is low. For this reason the presence of rational, fully informed speculators may increase exchange rate volatility under floating exchange rates. Whether or not speculators increase exchange rate volatility depends on the extent of speculative activity and the types of economic shocks that dominate. At low levels of speculative activity, speculation will be stabilizing when the dominant shocks to exchange rates are associated exclusively with real economic activity, such as international trade in goods and services. It becomes destabilizing when the dominant shocks are changes in interest rates, perceived risk, or transactions costs--factors whose influence on exchange rates derives in part from their direct effect on speculators' positions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 13.

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Date of creation: 1996
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:13

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Keywords: Foreign exchange rates ; Rational expectations (Economic theory);

References

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  1. Stein, Jeremy C., 1987. "Informational Externalities and Welfare-Reducing Speculation," Scholarly Articles 3660740, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Osler, C. L., 1995. "Exchange rate dynamics and speculator horizons," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 695-719, October.
  3. Mark P. Taylor & Ronald MacDonald, 1991. "Exchange Rate Economics: A Survey," IMF Working Papers 91/62, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Flood, Robert P & Rose, Andrew K, 1993. "Fixing Exchange Rates: A Virtual Quest for Fundamentals," CEPR Discussion Papers 838, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Osler, C. L., 1998. "Short-term speculators and the puzzling behaviour of exchange rates," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 37-57, June.
  6. Barry Eichengreen, James Tobin, and Charles Wyplosz., 1994. "Two Cases for Sand in the Wheels of International Finance," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C94-045, University of California at Berkeley.
  7. Takatoshi Ito & Richard K. Lyons & Michael T. Melvin, 1997. "Is There Private Information in the FX Market? The Tokyo Experiment," NBER Working Papers 5936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Richard K. Lyons., 1993. "Tests of Microstructural Hypotheses in the Foreign Exchange Market," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-230, University of California at Berkeley.
  9. Hart, Oliver D. & Kreps, David M., 1986. "Price Destabilizing Speculation," Scholarly Articles 3448679, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Marianne Baxter & Alan C. Stockman, 1988. "Business Cycles and the Exchange Rate System: Some International Evidence," NBER Working Papers 2689, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Baxter, Marianne & Stockman, Alan C., 1989. "Business cycles and the exchange-rate regime : Some international evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 377-400, May.
  12. Pentti J.K. Kouri, 1981. "Balance of Payments and the Foreign Exchange Market: A Dynamic Partial Equilibrium Model," NBER Working Papers 0644, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. De Long, J Bradford & Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers & Robert J. Waldmann, 1990. "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 703-38, August.
  14. Gallant, A Ronald & Rossi, Peter E & Tauchen, George, 1992. "Stock Prices and Volume," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(2), pages 199-242.
  15. Baillie, R.T. & Bollerslev, T., 1989. "Intra Day And Inter Market Volatility In Foreign Exchange Rates," Papers 8811, Michigan State - Econometrics and Economic Theory.
  16. Bhattacharya, Utpal & Weller, Paul, 1992. "The Advantage to Hiding One's Hand: Speculation and Central Bank Intervention in the Foreign Exchange Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 737, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Hau, Harald, 1998. "Competitive Entry and Endogenous Risk in the Foreign Exchange Market," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 11(4), pages 757-87.
  18. Goodhart, Charles, 1988. "The Foreign Exchange Market: A Random Walk with a Dragging Anchor," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 55(220), pages 437-60, November.
  19. Dow, James & Gorton, Gary, 1993. "Trading, Communication and the Response of Asset Prices to News," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(418), pages 639-46, May.
  20. Dacorogna, Michael M. & Muller, Ulrich A. & Nagler, Robert J. & Olsen, Richard B. & Pictet, Olivier V., 1993. "A geographical model for the daily and weekly seasonal volatility in the foreign exchange market," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 413-438, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Cheung, Yin-Wong & Chinn, Menzie David, 2001. "Currency traders and exchange rate dynamics: a survey of the US market," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 439-471, August.
  2. Killeen, William P. & Lyons, Richard K. & Moore, Michael J., 2006. "Fixed versus flexible: Lessons from EMS order flow," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 551-579, June.
  3. Harald Hau & Hélène Rey, 2006. "Exchange Rates, Equity Prices, and Capital Flows," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 19(1), pages 273-317.
  4. Bjonnes, Geir Hoidal & Rime, Dagfinn & Solheim, Haakon O.Aa., 2005. "Liquidity provision in the overnight foreign exchange market," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 175-196, March.
  5. Chatrath, Arjun & Adrangi, Bahram & Allender, Mary, 2001. "The impact of margins in futures markets: evidence from the gold and silver markets," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 279-294.

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