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The real exchange rate of the rand and competitiveness of South Africa's trade

  • Mtonga, Elvis

In the last 10 years since South Africa transformed into a democracy, the rand has seen an increase in volatility of its real exchange rate. These fluctuations in the rand’s real exchange rate have raised questions as to whether they signify significant misalignment of the currency and thereby undermine competitiveness of South Africa’s exports abroad. This is a pertinent question in the South African context because foreign trade has been critical to the growth of the economy. Efforts to address current high levels of unemployment and widespread poverty among the majority of the population have depended upon this growth. This study investigates the extent to which fluctuations in the rand’s real exchange rate have impacted on the competitiveness of South African trade flows by determining whether, at some point, the rand had been misaligned, and the likely consequences of such a misalignment. Using data from 1972 to 2003, and an equilibrium correction model of the rand’s real exchange rate drawn on existing literature, the study finds that, from 1994 to 1996, and also in 1998, the rand’s real exchange rate became undervalued by an average 10%. By early 2002, the extent of overshooting had reached 20%. However, the strong recovery of the rand at the start of 2002 reversed this overshooting and instead pushed the real exchange rate above its equilibrium by an average 16 to 17% at the end of 2003. This suggests significant loss of trade competitiveness during 2003 and needed a nominal depreciation to correct the imbalance.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 1192.

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Date of creation: 15 Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:1192
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  1. Vincent Koen & Laurence Boone & Alain de Serres & Nicola Fuchs, 2001. "Tracking the Euro," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 298, OECD Publishing.
  2. Ronald MacDonald, 1995. "Long-Run Exchange Rate Modeling; A Survey of the Recent Evidence," IMF Working Papers 95/14, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Tarhan Feyzioglu, 1997. "Estimating the Equilibrium Real Exchange Rate; An Application to Finland," IMF Working Papers 97/109, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Ronald MacDonald & Peter B. Clark, 1998. "Exchange Rates and Economic Fundamentals; A Methodological Comparison of Beers and Feers," IMF Working Papers 98/67, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Peter Montiel & Bijan B. Aghevli & Mohsin S. Khan, 1991. "Exchange Rate Policy in Developing Countries; Some Analytical Issues," IMF Occasional Papers 78, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Pesaran, M. Hashem & Shin, Yongcheol & Smith, Richard J., 2000. "Structural analysis of vector error correction models with exogenous I(1) variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 293-343, August.
  7. Steven A. Symansky & Peter B. Clark & Leonardo Bartolini & Tamim Bayoumi, 1994. "Exchange Rates and Economic Fundamentals; A Framework for Analysis," IMF Occasional Papers 115, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Gonzalo, Jesus & Granger, Clive W J, 1995. "Estimation of Common Long-Memory Components in Cointegrated Systems," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(1), pages 27-35, January.
  9. By Gunnar Jonsson, 2001. "Inflation, Money Demand, and Purchasing Power Parity in South Africa," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 48(2), pages 2.
  10. Dickey, David A & Fuller, Wayne A, 1981. "Likelihood Ratio Statistics for Autoregressive Time Series with a Unit Root," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 1057-72, June.
  11. Osterwald-Lenum, Michael, 1992. "A Note with Quantiles of the Asymptotic Distribution of the Maximum Likelihood Cointegration Rank Test Statistics," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 54(3), pages 461-72, August.
  12. Johansen, Soren, 1995. "Likelihood-Based Inference in Cointegrated Vector Autoregressive Models," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198774501, March.
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