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Buy foreign while you can: the cheap dollar and exchange rate pass-through

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  • Eduardo J. J. Ganapolsky
  • Diego Vilan

Abstract

Despite the dollar’s real depreciation in the past few years, the U.S. trade deficit has continued to increase, with the level of imports reaching record highs. Why has the cheaper dollar not made imports more expensive and exports more attractive and, in turn, reduced the trade deficit? ; This article presents evidence on the degree of exchange rate pass-through (ERPT)—the extent to which U.S. domestic import prices have moved in response to changes in the exchange rate—from December 1993 through December 2004. Using monthly data, the authors first decompose domestic import prices to their foreign price and exchange rate components and then test for the presence of ERPT in selected import categories. ; According to their analysis, ERPT elasticity has trended downward for the main import categories during the ten-year period. But at the more disaggregated levels, ERPT showed an upward trend for some items during the last months of 2004, especially for capital and consumer goods. ; The authors interpret this shift as a sign that some foreign firms may have stopped absorbing exchange rate depreciations as the falling dollar has shaved away their profit margins. To be able to survive, some foreign exporters might begin passing through exchange rate depreciations to domestic import prices, the authors conclude.

Suggested Citation

  • Eduardo J. J. Ganapolsky & Diego Vilan, 2005. "Buy foreign while you can: the cheap dollar and exchange rate pass-through," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q 3, pages 15-36.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedaer:y:2005:i:q3:p:15-36:n:v.90no.3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Swamy, P. A. V. B. & Thurman, Stephan S., 1994. "Exchange rate episodes and the pass-through of exchange rates to import prices," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 609-623, December.
    2. Burstein, Ariel T. & Neves, Joao C. & Rebelo, Sergio, 2003. "Distribution costs and real exchange rate dynamics during exchange-rate-based stabilizations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1189-1214, September.
    3. Campa, Jose M. & Goldberg, Linda S., 2002. "Exchange rate pass-through into import prices: A macro or micro phenomenon?," IESE Research Papers D/475, IESE Business School.
    4. Feenstra, Robert C., 1989. "Symmetric pass-through of tariffs and exchange rates under imperfect competition: An empirical test," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 25-45, August.
    5. Richard Baldwin & Paul Krugman, 1989. "Persistent Trade Effects of Large Exchange Rate Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(4), pages 635-654.
    6. Mario Marazzi & Nathan Sheets & Robert J. Vigfusson & Jon Faust & Joseph E. Gagnon & Jaime R. Marquez & Robert F. Martin & Trevor A. Reeve & John H. Rogers, 2005. "Exchange rate pass-through to U.S. import prices: some new evidence," International Finance Discussion Papers 833, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    Cited by:

    1. Reginaldo P. Nogueira Jnr, 2006. "Inflation Targeting and the Role of Exchange Rate Pass-through," Studies in Economics 0602, School of Economics, University of Kent.

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    Keywords

    Foreign exchange rates ; Imports - Prices;

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