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The Long-Term “Optimal” Real Exchange Rate And The Currency Overvaluation Trend In Open Emerging Economies: The Case Of Brazil

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  • André Nassif
  • Carmem Feijó
  • Eliane Araújo

Abstract

We present a Structuralist-Keynesian theoretical approach on the determinants of the real exchange rate (RER) for open emerging economies. Instead of macroeconomic fundamentals, the long-term trend of the real exchange rate level is better determined not only by structural forces and long-term economic policies, but also by both short-term macroeconomic policies and their indirect effects on other short-term economic variables. In our theoretical model, the actual real exchange rate is broken down into long-term structural and short-term components, both of which may be responsible for deviations of that actual variable from its long-term trend level. We also propose an original concept of a long-term “optimal” real exchange rate for open emerging economies. The econometric models for the Brazilian economy in the 1999–2011 period show that, among the structural variables, the GDP per capita and the terms of trade had the largest estimated coefficients correlated with the long-term trend of the RER in Brazil. As to our variables influenced by the short-term economic policies, the short-term interest rate differential and the stock of international reserves reveal the largest estimated coefficients correlated with the long-term trend of our explained variable. The econometric results show two basic conclusions: first, the Brazilian currency was persistently overvalued throughout almost all of the period under analysis; and second, the long-term “optimal” real exchange rate was reached in 2004. According to our estimation, in April 2011, the real overvaluation of the Brazilian currency in relation to the long-term “optimal” level was around 80 per cent. These findings lead us to suggest in the conclusion that a mix of policy instruments should have been used in order to reverse the overvaluation trend of the Brazilian real exchange rate, including a target for reaching the “optimal” real exchange rate in the medium and the long-run.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in its series UNCTAD Discussion Papers with number 206.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:unc:dispap:206

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