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Revisiting the importance of non-tradable goods' prices in cyclical real exchange rate fluctuations

  • Ida Wolden Bache

    (Norges Bank (Central Bank of Norway))

  • Kjersti Næss


    (Norges Bank (Central Bank of Norway))

  • Tommy Sveen


    (Norges Bank (Central Bank of Norway))

In an influential paper Engel (1999. Accounting for U.S. Real Exchange Rate Changes, Journal of Political Economy 107, 507-538) argues that essentially all the flctuations in the real exchange rate can be attributed to fluctuations in the relative price of traded goods, and that only a small part of the fluctuations can be attributed to changes in the relative price of non-tradables. We instead decompose the real exchange rate into three components: the relative price of traded goods at-the-dock, the difference in the relative price of non-traded to traded goods and the difference in the wedge between retail prices of traded goods and the prices of traded goods at-the-dock. Using data on US bilateral real exchange rates we find that the fluctuations in the relative wedge between retail prices and traded goods prices at-the-dock account for on average between 30 and 70 percent of the movements in the real exchange rate. These findings suggest that the relationship between traded goods prices at-the-dock and retail prices of traded goods is key to understanding real exchange rate fluctuations.

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Paper provided by Norges Bank in its series Working Paper with number 2009/03.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: 30 Jan 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bno:worpap:2009_03
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  1. Caroline M. Betts & Timothy J. Kehoe, 2008. "Real exchange rate movements and the relative price of non-traded goods," Staff Report 415, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Burstein, Ariel & Eichenbaum, Martin & Rebelo, Sergio, 2006. "The importance of nontradable goods' prices in cyclical real exchange rate fluctuations," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 247-253, August.
  3. Betts, Caroline M. & Kehoe, Timothy J., 2006. "U.S. real exchange rate fluctuations and relative price fluctuations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1297-1326, October.
  4. Engel, C., 1996. "Accounting for U.S. Real Exchange Rate Changes," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 96-02, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  5. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 1998. "Can sticky price models generate volatile and persistent real exchange rates?," Staff Report 223, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Burstein, Ariel Tomas & Eichenbaum, Martin & Rebelo, Sérgio, 2004. "Large Devaluations and the Real Exchange Rate," CEPR Discussion Papers 4810, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. V. V Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2002. "Can Sticky Price Models Generate Volatile and Persistent Real Exchange Rates?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(3), pages 533-563.
  8. Betts, Caroline & Devereux, Michael B., 2000. "Exchange rate dynamics in a model of pricing-to-market," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 215-244, February.
  9. Betts, Caroline & Devereux, Michael B., 1996. "The exchange rate in a model of pricing-to-market," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 1007-1021, April.
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