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Is Foreign Exchange Market Intervention an Alternative to Monetary Policy? Evidence from Japan

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  • Rasmus Fatum
  • Michael M. Hutchison

Abstract

Japanese official intervention in the foreign exchange market is of by far the largest magnitude in the world, despite little or no evidence that it is effective in moving exchange rates. Up until recently, however, official data on intervention has not been available for Japan. This paper investigates the effectiveness of intervention using recently published official daily data and an exchange rate data, i.e. intense and sporadic bursts of intervention activity juxtaposed against a yen/dollar rate continuously changing, than standard time-series approaches. Focusing on daily Japanese and US official intervention operations, we identify separate intervention "episodes" and analyze the subsequent effect on the exchange rate. Using the non-parametric sign test and matched-sample test, we find strong evidence that sterilized intervention systematically affects the exchange rate in the short-run. This result holds even when intervention is not associated with (simultaneous) interest rate changes and regardless of whether or not intervention is "secret" (in the sense of no official reports or rumors of intervention reported over the newswires). To some extent intervention might be a useful policy instrument during the zero-interest rate policy period in Japan, effectively depreciating the value of the yen exchange rate (the "foolproof" policy proposed by Svensson, 2001), but the effects are likely to be short-term in nature.

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Paper provided by Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series EPRU Working Paper Series with number 02-11.

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Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:02-11

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  1. Takatoshi Ito, 2002. "Is Foreign Exchange Intervention Effective?: The Japanese Experiences in the 1990s," NBER Working Papers 8914, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, December.
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Cited by:
  1. José De Gregorio & Andrea Tokman & Rodrigo Valdés, 2005. "Flexible Exchange Rate with Inflation Targeting in Chile: Experience and Issues," Research Department Publications 4427, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  2. José De Gregorio & Andrea Tokman & Rodrigo Valdés, 2005. "Tipo de cambio flexible y fijación de metas inflacionarias en Chile: experiencia y aspectos resaltantes," Research Department Publications 4428, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  3. Coenen, Günter & Wieland, Volker, 2003. "The zero-interest-rate bound and the role of the exchange rate for monetary policy in Japan," Working Paper Series 0218, European Central Bank.
  4. Owen F. Humpage, 2003. "Government intervention in the foreign exchange market," Working Paper 0315, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  5. José De Gregorio & Andrea Tokman R, 2005. "Flexible exchange rate regime and forex intervention," BIS Papers chapters, in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Foreign exchange market intervention in emerging markets: motives, techniques and implications, volume 24, pages 127-38 Bank for International Settlements.
  6. José De Gregorio R. / & Andrea Tokman R., 2005. "Fear of Floating and Exchange Rate Policy in Chile," Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 8(3), pages 29-54, December.
  7. King, Michael R, 2003. "Effective Foreign Exchange Intervention: Matching Strategies with Objectives," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(2), pages 249-71, Summer.

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