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A brief empirical history of U.S. foreign-exchange intervention: 1973-1995

  • Michael D. Bordo
  • Owen F. Humpage
  • Anna J. Schwartz

This paper assesses U.S. foreign-exchange intervention since the inception of generalized floating. We find that intervention was by and large ineffectual. We first identify which interventions were successful according to three criteria. Then, we test whether the number of observed successes significantly exceeds the amount that would randomly occur given the near-martingale nature of daily exchange-rate changes. Finally, we investigate whether the various characteristics of an intervention - its size, frequency, or coordination - can increase the probability of success. We find that intervention did tend to moderate same-day exchange-rate movements relative to the previous day, but this effect is not robust across subperiods or currencies and it occurs infrequently. Increasing the size of an intervention increases the probability of success, but no other variable consistently makes a difference, including coordinating interventions with other central banks.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in its series Working Paper with number 0903.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:0903
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  1. Christopher J. Neely, 2000. "The practice of central bank intervention: looking under the hood," Working Papers 2000-028, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  2. Humpage, Owen F., 2000. "The United States as an informed foreign-exchange speculator," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 10(3-4), pages 287-302, December.
  3. Popper, Helen & Montgomery, John D., 2001. "Information sharing and central bank intervention in the foreign exchange market," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 295-316, December.
  4. Yin-Wong Cheung & Menzie D. Chinn, 2000. "Currency Traders and Exchange Rate Dynamics: A Survey of the U.S. Market," CESifo Working Paper Series 251, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. LeBaron, Blake, 1999. "Technical trading rule profitability and foreign exchange intervention," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 125-143, October.
  6. Christopher J. Neely, 2005. "An analysis of recent studies of the effect of foreign exchange intervention," Working Papers 2005-030, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  7. Bonser-Neal, Catherine & Roley, V Vance & Sellon, Gordon H, Jr, 1998. "Monetary Policy Actions, Intervention, and Exchange Rates: A Reexamination of the Empirical Relationships Using Federal Funds Rate Target Data," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 71(2), pages 147-77, April.
  8. Dominguez, Kathryn M. E., 2003. "The market microstructure of central bank intervention," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 25-45, January.
  9. Humpage, Owen F, 1999. "U.S. Intervention: Assessing the Probability of Success," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(4), pages 731-47, November.
  10. Chang, Yuanchen & Taylor, Stephen J., 1998. "Intraday effects of foreign exchange intervention by the Bank of Japan1," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 191-210, February.
  11. Baillie, Richard T. & Humpage, Owen F. & Osterberg, William P., 2000. "Intervention from an information perspective," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 10(3-4), pages 407-421, December.
  12. Edison, H.J., 1993. "The Effectiveness of Central-Bank Intervention: A Survey of the Litterature after 1982," Princeton Studies in International Economics 18, International Economics Section, Departement of Economics Princeton University,.
  13. Rasmus Fatum & Michael M. Hutchison, . "ECB Foreign Exchange Intervention and the Euro: Institutional Framework, News and Intervention," EPRU Working Paper Series 02-10, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  14. Humpage, Owen F. & Osterberg, William P., 1992. "Intervention and the foreign exchange risk premium: An empirical investigation of daily effects," Global Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 23-50.
  15. Dominguez, Kathryn M & Frankel, Jeffrey A, 1993. "Does Foreign-Exchange Intervention Matter? The Portfolio Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1356-69, December.
  16. Martin D. D. Evans & Richard K. Lyons, 2001. "Portfolio Balance, Price Impact, and Secret Intervention," NBER Working Papers 8356, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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