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Trade flows and the exchange rate in South Africa

Author

Listed:
  • Edwards, Lawrence J
  • Garlick, Robert

Abstract

The exchange rate plays a central role in public debate around trade and trade policy in South Africa. The general view is that depreciation enhances export competitiveness, encourages export diversification, protects domestic industries from imports and ultimately improves the trade balance. This paper reviews the theoretical and empirical relationship between the exchange rate and trade flows in South Africa. Trade volumes are found to be sensitive to real exchange rate movements but nominal depreciations have a limited long-run impact on trade volumes and the trade balance, as real effects are offset by domestic inflation. Policy should not focus on the exchange rate, but on the fundamental determinants of the profitability and competitiveness of domestic exporters and import competing industries: productivity enhancement, infrastructure, constraints to business operations and production costs, including labour costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Edwards, Lawrence J & Garlick, Robert, 2008. "Trade flows and the exchange rate in South Africa," MPRA Paper 36666, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:36666
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/36666/1/MPRA_paper_36666.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lawrence Edwards & Robert Lawrence, 2006. "South African Trade Policy Matters: Trade Performance & Trade Policy," CID Working Papers 135, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    2. Stephen S. Golub & Janet Ceglowski, 2002. "South African Real Exchange Rates And Manufacturing Competitiveness," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 70(6), pages 1047-1075, September.
    3. Alberto Behar & Lawrence Edwards, 2004. "Estiimating Elasticities Of Demand And Supply For South African Manufactured Exports Using A Vector Error Correction Model," Development and Comp Systems 0409045, EconWPA.
    4. Lawrence Edwards, 2004. "A firm level analysis of trade, technology and employment in South Africa," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(1), pages 45-61.
    5. Stephen P. Magee, 1973. "Currency Contracts, Pass-Through, and Devaluation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 4(1), pages 303-325.
    6. Lawrence Edwards & Volker Schoer, 2002. "Measures Of Competitiveness: A Dynamic Approach To South Africa'S Trade Performance In The 1990s," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 70(6), pages 1008-1046, September.
    7. Mohsen Bahmani-Oskooee, 1998. "Cointegration Approach to Estimate the Long-Run Trade Elasticities in LDCs," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 89-96.
    8. Johannes Fedderke, 2005. "Technology, Human Capital and Growth," Working Papers 27, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    9. Lawrence Edwards & Phil Alves, 2006. "South Africa'S Export Performance: Determinants Of Export Supply," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 74(3), pages 473-500, September.
    10. Torfinn Harding & Jørn Rattsø, 2005. "The barrier model of productivity growth: South Africa," Discussion Papers 425, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    11. Janine Aron & Ibrahim Elbadawi & Brian Kahn, 1998. "Determinants of the real exchange rate in South Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 1997-16, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    12. Bahmani-Oskooee, Mohsen & Niroomand, Farhang, 1998. "Long-run price elasticities and the Marshall-Lerner condition revisited," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 101-109, October.
    13. Wolassa l. Kumo, 2006. "Macroeconomic Uncertainty And Aggregate Private Investment In South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 74(2), pages 190-204, June.
    14. Lawrence Edwards & Robert Lawrence, 2008. "South African trade policy matters," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 16(4), pages 585-608, October.
    15. Wood, Adrian & Mayer, Jorg, 2001. "Africa's Export Structure in a Comparative Perspective," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(3), pages 369-394, May.
    16. Kevin Nell, 2000. "Imported Inflation in South Africa: An Empirical Study," Studies in Economics 0005, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    17. Lawrence Edwards & StephenS. Golub, 2003. "South African Productivity And Capital Accumulation In Manufacturing: An International Comparative Analysis," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 71(4), pages 659-678, December.
    18. Edwards, Lawrence & Golub, Stephen S., 2004. "South Africa's International Cost Competitiveness and Exports in Manufacturing," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1323-1339, August.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Rahul Anand & Roberto Perrelli & Boyang Zhang, 2016. "South Africa’s Exports Performance; Any Role for Structural Factors?," IMF Working Papers 16/24, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Sandile Hlatshwayo & Magnus Saxegaard, 2016. "The Consequences of Policy Uncertainty; Disconnects and Dilutions in the South African Real Effective Exchange Rate-Export Relationship," IMF Working Papers 16/113, International Monetary Fund.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Exchange rate; South Africa; international trade;

    JEL classification:

    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade

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