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The Effectiveness of Foreign-Exchange Intervention: Recent Experience

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  • Maurice Obstfeld

Abstract

Since the September 1985 Plaza Hotel announcement by the Group of Five industrial countries, a substantial realignment of exchange rates has been achieved. At the same time, foreign exchange market intervention, much of it concerted and much of it sterilized, has been undertaken on a scale not seen since the early 1970s This paper takes a fresh look at the effectiveness of sterilized intervention in the light of recent experience. The paper concludes that sterilized intervention, in itself, has played an unimportant role in promoting exchange-rate realignment. Instead, clear shifts in patterns of monetary and fiscal policy appear to have been the main medium-term policy factors determining currency values. Over certain shorter time periods, intervention has influenced exchange markets through a signalling channel; but this signalling effect has been operative only as a result of authorities' frequent readiness to adjust monetary policies promptly to counteract unwelcome exchange-market pressures. The paper makes some progress in formalizing reasons why intervention might enhance the credibility of messages that governments could convey as well through simple verbal announcements.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2796.

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Date of creation: Feb 1991
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Publication status: published as Branson, William H., Jacob A. Frenkel, and Morris Goldstein (eds.) International Policy Coordination and Exchange Rate Fluctuations. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1990.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2796

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Cited by:
  1. Goodfriend, Marvin, 1994. "Why We Need an "Accord" for Federal Reserve Credit Policy: A Note," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 26(3), pages 572-80, August.
  2. Lars E.O. Svensson, 1990. "The Foreign Exchange Risk Premium in a Target Zone with Devaluation Risk," NBER Working Papers 3466, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Levy-Yeyati, Eduardo & Sturzenegger, Federico, 2005. "Classifying exchange rate regimes: Deeds vs. words," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1603-1635, August.
  4. Richard T. Baillie & William P. Osterberg, 1998. "Central bank intervention and overnight uncovered interest rate parity," Working Paper 9823, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  5. Neil, Beattie & Fillion, Jean-François, 1999. "An Intraday Analysis of the Effectiveness of Foreign Exchange Intervention," Working Papers 99-4, Bank of Canada.
  6. Joon-Hwan Im, 2001. "Optimal Currency Target Zones: How Wide Should Exchange Rate Bands Be?," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(1), pages 61-93.
  7. Michael D. Bordo & Anna J. Schwartz, 1991. "What has Foreign Market Intervention Since the Plaza Agreement Accomplished?," NBER Working Papers 3562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Kathryn M. Dominguez & Jeffrey Frankel, 1994. "Does Foreign Exchange Intervention Matter? Disentangling the Portfolio and Expectations Effects for the Mark," NBER Working Papers 3299, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. King, Michael R, 2003. "Effective Foreign Exchange Intervention: Matching Strategies with Objectives," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(2), pages 249-71, Summer.
  10. Joscha Beckmann & Ansgar Belke & Michael Kühl, 2011. "Cointegration, structural breaks and monetary fundamentals of the Dollar/Yen Exchange," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 397-412, November.
  11. Shankar, Rashmi, 2002. "Distinguishing between observationally equivalent theories of crises," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2926, The World Bank.
  12. Baillie, Richard T. & Osterberg, William P., 2000. "Deviations from daily uncovered interest rate parity and the role of intervention," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 10(3-4), pages 363-379, December.
  13. Michael Bordo & Anna Schwartz, 1991. "What has foreign exchange market intervention since the Plaza Agreement accomplished?," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 39-64, February.

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