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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. Mark P. Taylor & Ronald MacDonald, 1991. "Exchange Rate Economics: A Survey," IMF Working Papers 91/62, International Monetary Fund.
  2. 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.
  3. Flood, Robert P. & Rose, Andrew K., 1995. "Fixing exchange rates A virtual quest for fundamentals," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 3-37, August.
  4. Baxter, M. & Stockman, A.C., 1988. "Business Cycles And The Exchange Rate System: Some International Evidence," RCER Working Papers 140, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  5. 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.
  6. Eichengreen, Barry & Tobin, James & Wyplosz, Charles, 1995. "Two Cases for Sand in the Wheels of International Finance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(428), pages 162-72, January.
  7. 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.
  8. Takatoshi Ito & Richard K. Lyons & Michael T. Melvin, 1996. "Is There Private Information in the FX Market? The Tokyo Experiment," Working Papers _005, University of California at Berkeley, Haas School of Business.
  9. 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.
  10. Baillie, R.T. & Bollerslev, T., 1989. "Intra Day And Inter Market Volatility In Foreign Exchange Rates," Papers 8811, Michigan State - Econometrics and Economic Theory.
  11. 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.
  12. Stein, Jeremy C., 1987. "Informational Externalities and Welfare-Reducing Speculation," Scholarly Articles 3660740, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Hart, Oliver D & Kreps, David M, 1986. "Price Destabilizing Speculation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 927-52, October.
  14. 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.
  15. Lyons, Richard K., 1995. "Tests of microstructural hypotheses in the foreign exchange market," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2-3), pages 321-351.
  16. 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.
  17. Osler, C. L., 1995. "Exchange rate dynamics and speculator horizons," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 695-719, October.
  18. De Long, J. Bradford & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H. & Waldmann, Robert J., 1990. "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets," Scholarly Articles 3725552, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Harald Hau & Helene Rey, 2002. "Exchange Rate, Equity Prices and Capital Flows," NBER Working Papers 9398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  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. 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.

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