The impact of exchange rate volatility on trade integration among North and South Mediterranean countries
The volatility of exchange rates leads to a reduction of international trade volumes, especially in emerging economies including the South Mediterranean countries. This study discusses the impact of exchange rates on bilateral South- North trade flows, which comes timely after the increased volatility between the Euro and Arab national currencies during the last few years and after the global financial crisis of 2008 that led to a sharp reduction at that time. We investigate the impact of exchange rate volatility on trade using monthly time series for the last ten years from 2000 up to 2011. By means of a Vector Auto Regression model with eXogenous variables (VARX) we estimate the reactions of bilateral exports and imports in response to exchange rate fluctuations between South and North Mediterranean economies. A sample of three South Arab countries is selected including Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco. Causality tests are conducted to examine the hypotheses. Our results show that the exports of goods from Egypt to the European Union decreases in comparison with the baseline by about 3% in case of an appreciation of 10% of the Egyptian pound vis-à-vis the euro, while the imports of Egypt from the EU increase by almost 10%. Also for Morocco, the imports from the EU react much stronger than the exports to the EU to a similar size appreciation of the Moroccan dirham. Jordan is less import-dependent, though reacts strongly in terms of exports if its dollar-pegged currency appreciates vis-à-vis the euro. Finally, we can conclude that the actual exchange rate changes are quite high.
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