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The Federal Reserve as an Informed Foreign Exchange Trader: 1973 - 1995

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

Abstract

If official interventions convey private information useful for price discovery in foreign-exchange markets, then they should have value as a forecast of near-term exchange-rate movements. Using a set of standard criteria, we show that approximately 60 percent of all U.S. foreign-exchange interventions between 1973 and 1995 were successful in this sense. This percentage, however, is no better than random. U.S. intervention sales and purchases of foreign exchange were incapable of forecasting dollar appreciations or depreciations. U.S. interventions, however, were associated with more moderate dollar movements in a manner consistent with leaning against the wind, but only about 22 percent of all U.S. interventions conformed to this pattern. We also found that the larger the size of an intervention, the greater was its probability of success, although some interventions were inefficiently large. Other potential characteristics of intervention, notably coordination and secrecy, did not seem to influence our success rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael D. Bordo & Owen F. Humpage & Anna J. Schwartz, 2011. "The Federal Reserve as an Informed Foreign Exchange Trader: 1973 - 1995," NBER Working Papers 17425, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17425
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christopher J. Neely, 2001. "The practice of central bank intervention: looking under the hood," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 1-10.
    2. Vitale, Paolo, 1999. "Sterilised central bank intervention in the foreign exchange market," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 245-267, December.
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    4. Reitz, Stefan & Taylor, Mark P., 2008. "The coordination channel of foreign exchange intervention: A nonlinear microstructural analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 55-76, January.
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    7. Martin D. D. Evans & Richard K. Lyons, 2017. "Are Different-Currency Assets Imperfect Substitutes?," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Studies in Foreign Exchange Economics, chapter 10, pages 415-456 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    11. Beine, Michel & Bernal, Oscar, 2007. "Why do central banks intervene secretly?: Preliminary evidence from the BoJ," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 291-306, July.
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    13. Michael D. Bordo & Owen F. Humpage & Anna J. Schwartz, 2010. "U.S. Foreign-Exchange-Market Intervention and the Early Dollar Float: 1973 - 1981," NBER Working Papers 16647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rasmus Fatum & Yohei Yamamoto, 2012. "Does foreign exchange intervention volume matter?," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 115, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    2. Michael D. Bordo & Owen F. Humpage & Anna J. Schwartz, 2012. "Epilogue: foreign-exchange-market operations in the twenty-first century," Working Paper 1207, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    3. Smita Roy Trivedi & P. G. Apte, 2016. "Central Bank Intervention in USD/INR Market: Estimating Its Reaction Function and Impact on Volatility," Asia-Pacific Financial Markets, Springer;Japanese Association of Financial Economics and Engineering, vol. 23(3), pages 263-279, September.
    4. Michael D Bordo & Owen F Humpage & Anna J Schwartz, 2015. "The Evolution of the Federal Reserve Swap Lines since 1962," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 63(2), pages 353-372, September.
    5. repec:eee:reveco:v:51:y:2017:i:c:p:370-390 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:bla:econpa:v:35:y:2016:i:4:p:389-402 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • N22 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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