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Exchange rates during the crisis

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  • Weber, Sebastian
  • Wyplosz, Charles

Abstract

Nearly two years after the onset of the financial crises, many central banks have brought their policy interest rates down to, or close to zero. Various governments have seen their budget deficits soar. Both policies have affected exchange rates, partly through market expectations. With a majority of exchange rates officially floating, exchange rate movements do not necessarily reflect official decisions as was the case in the 1930s. Yet, also in the 2008 crisis, authorities have directly intervened in the foreign exchange market, sometimes in order to defend a falling currency but in other instances with the aim to limit appreciation pressure, akin of competitive devaluations. This paper documents the exchange rate interventions during the height of the 2008/09 financial crisis and identifies the countries which have particular high incentives to intervene in the foreign exchange market to competitively devalue their currency. While various countries had increased incentives to devalue, we find that direct exchange rate interventions have been rather limited and contagion of devaluation has been restricted to one regionally contained case. However, sharp market-driven exchange rate movements have reshaped competitive positions. It appears that these movements have so far not seriously disrupted global trade. After all, a world crisis is likely to require widespread exchange rate adjustments as different countries are affected in different ways and have different capacities to weather the shocks.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5059.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5059

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Related research

Keywords: Currencies and Exchange Rates; Debt Markets; Emerging Markets; Economic Stabilization; Economic Theory&Research;

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  1. Gourinchas, Pierre-Oliver & Farhi, Emmanuel & Caballero, Ricardo J., 2008. "Financial Crash, Commodity Prices, and Global Imbalances," Scholarly Articles 3229095, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  3. Ricardo J Caballero & Emmanuel Farhi & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, 2006. "An equilibrum model of "global imbalances" and low interest rates," BIS Working Papers 222, Bank for International Settlements.
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  7. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2004. "The modern history of exchange rate arrangements: A reinterpretation," MPRA Paper 14070, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Ofair Razin & Susan M. Collins, 1997. "Real Exchange Rate Misalignments and Growth," International Finance, EconWPA 9707001, EconWPA.
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  10. Michael Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter Garber, 2005. "An essay on the revived Bretton Woods system," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Feb.
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Cited by:
  1. Maryline Huchet-Bourdon & J. Korinek, 2011. "To what extent do exchange rates and their volatility affect trade ?," Post-Print hal-00729403, HAL.

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