The effectiveness of official intervention in foreign exchange market in Malawi
The Malawi Kwacha was floated in February 1994. Since then, the Reserve Bank of Malawi has periodically intervened in the foreign exchange market. This paper analyses the effectiveness of foreign exchange market interventions carried out by the Reserve Bank of Malawi. We use a GARCH (1, 1) model to simultaneously estimate the effect of intervention on the mean and volatility of the Malawi kwacha. Using monthly exchange rates and official intervention data from January 2002 to February 2006, the empirical results suggest that intervention activities of the Reserve Bank of Malawi affect the kwacha. In line with similar findings elsewhere in the literature, the paper finds that net sales of dollars by the Reserve Bank of Malawi depreciate, rather than appreciate, the kwacha. This effect is very small, however. Moreover, the paper also finds that the Reserve Bank of Malawi intervention reduces the volatility of the kwacha. This shows that the Reserve Bank actually achieves its objective of smoothing out fluctuations of the kwacha. This can be evidenced by the stability of the kwacha during a greater part of 2004. Thus intervention is, to some extent, used as an effective tool for moderating fluctuations of the kwacha. However, its effectiveness is constrained by the amounts of foreign exchange reserves, which are usually low.
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