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Smugglers' Blues at the Central Bank: Lessons from Sudan

  • Braga de Macedo, Jorge
  • Branson, William H

The ineffectiveness of real devaluation as a stabilization policy does not imply that the nominal exchange rate should be held constant in the face of a domestic inflation. In this circumstance, import duties and export subsidies would have to be escalated to counter the potential erosion of the trade balance. Such an escalation of trade barriers, however, generates a rising black market premium and increases the incentive to smuggle, already a pervasive problem in the African countries. As a consequence, the central bank would find it more and more difficult to hold the nominal exchange rate constant. This leads us to consider a passive exchange rate policy of stabilizing the real exchange rate by moving the nominal rate in line with domestic inflation. Unless such a passive policy is accompanied by the elimination of trade barriers, however, the black market premium will not disappear. Unless exchange rate policy and trade policy are consistent with each other, the smuggler's blues will reach the central bank. Indeed, this is not just a theoretical possibility. It is the major lesson to be drawn from the recent experience of Sudan.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 161.

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Date of creation: Mar 1987
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:161
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  1. Jorge Braga de Macedo, 1985. "Macroeconomic Policy Under Currency Inconvertibility," NBER Working Papers 1571, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. William H. Branson, 1985. "The Dynamic Interaction of Exchange Rates and Trade Flows," NBER Working Papers 1780, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Hussain, M Nureldin & Thirlwall, A P, 1984. "The IMF Supply-Side Approach to Devaluation: An Assessment with Reference to the Sudan," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 46(2), pages 145-67, May.
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