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The Elephant Hiding in the Room: Currency Intervention and Trade Imbalances

Author

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  • Joseph E. Gagnon

    () (Peterson Institute for International Economics)

Abstract

Official purchases of foreign assets--a broad definition of currency intervention--are strongly correlated with current account (trade) imbalances. Causality runs in both directions, but statistical analysis using instrumental variables reveals that the effect of official asset purchases on current accounts is very large. A country's current account balance increases between 60 and 100 cents for each dollar spent on intervention. This is a much larger effect than is widely assumed. These results raise serious questions about the efficiency of international financial markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph E. Gagnon, 2013. "The Elephant Hiding in the Room: Currency Intervention and Trade Imbalances," Working Paper Series WP13-2, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:iie:wpaper:wp13-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Bordo & Robert N McCauley, 2017. "Triffin: dilemma or myth?," BIS Working Papers 684, Bank for International Settlements.
    2. Michael D. Bordo & Robert N. McCauley, 2016. "The Current Account Version of the Triffin Dilemma," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 44(2), pages 171-182, June.
    3. Olivier Blanchard & Gustavo Adler & Irineu de Carvalho Filho, 2015. "Can Foreign Exchange Intervention Stem Exchange Rate Pressures from Global Capital Flow Shocks?," Working Paper Series WP15-18, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    4. Bayoumi, Tamim & Saborowski, Christian, 2014. "Accounting for reserves," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 1-29.
    5. Bayoumi, Tamim & Gagnon, Joseph & Saborowski, Christian, 2015. "Official financial flows, capital mobility, and global imbalances," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 146-174.
    6. Steiner, Andreas, 2014. "Current account balance and dollar standard: Exploring the linkages," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 65-94.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    current account; financial flows; foreign exchange reserves;

    JEL classification:

    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General
    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements

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