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Foreign exchange intervention when interest rates are zero: does the portfolio balance channel matter after all?

  • Rasmus Fatum

The Japanese zero-interest rate period provides a "natural experiment" for investigating the effectiveness and transmission channels of sterilized intervention when traditional monetary policy options are constrained. This paper takes advantage of the fact that all interventions in the JPY/USD market during the zero-interest rate period are sterilized sales of JPY and, therefore, none of these interventions can signal a future interest rate decrease. In order to further assess through which transmission channel these interventions work, the analysis integrates official daily Japanese intervention data with a comprehensive set of rumors data that capture interventions of which the market is aware. Market awareness is a necessary condition for intervention to disseminate information and work through channels other than the portfolio balance channel. The results of the time series analysis show that intervention, on average, induces a statistically and economically significant same-day depreciation of the JPY. Market awareness is shown to be unimportant. Consequently, the effects of Japanese interventions during the zero-interest rate period are consistent only with the portfolio balance channel. This is a remarkable finding, demonstrating that sterilized intervention is, in principle, an independent policy instrument.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in its series Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper with number 57.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:feddgw:57
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  1. 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,.
  2. Kumhof, Michael, 2010. "On the theory of sterilized foreign exchange intervention," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1403-1420, August.
  3. Fischer, Andreas M., 2006. "On the inadequacy of newswire reports for empirical research on foreign exchange interventions," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(8), pages 1226-1240, December.
  4. Ito, Takatoshi & Yabu, Tomoyoshi, 2007. "What prompts Japan to intervene in the Forex market? A new approach to a reaction function," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 193-212, March.
  5. 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.
  6. Christopher J. Neely, 2005. "An analysis of recent studies of the effect of foreign exchange intervention," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 685-718.
  7. Kathryn Dominguez & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1990. "Does Foreign Exchange Intervention Work?," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 16, March.
  8. Rasmus Fatum & Michael M. Hutchison, . "Is Intervention a Signal of Future Monetary Policy? Evidence from the Federal Funds Futures Market," EPRU Working Paper Series 96-13, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  9. Rasmus Fatum & Michael M. Hutchison, 2004. "Foreign Exchange Intervention and Monetary Policy in Japan, 2003-04," EPRU Working Paper Series 05-05, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Jan 2005.
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