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Identifying the Efficacy of Central Bank Interventions: Evidence from Australia

  • Jonathan Kearns

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

  • Roberto Rigobon

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

The endogeneity of exchange rates and intervention has long plagued studies of the effectiveness of central banks’ actions in foreign exchange markets. Researchers have either excluded contemporaneous intervention so that their explanators are predetermined, or obtained a small, and typically incorrectly signed, coefficient on contemporaneous intervention. Failing to account for the endogeneity, when central banks lean against the wind and trade strategically, will likely result in a large downward bias to the coefficient on contemporaneous intervention – explaining the negative coefficient frequently obtained. We use an alternative identification assumption – a change in the intervention policy of the Reserve Bank of Australia – that allows us to estimate, using simulated Generalised Method of Moments (GMM), a model that includes the contemporaneous impact of intervention. There are three main results. Our point estimates suggest that central bank intervention has an economically significant contemporaneous effect. A US$100 million purchase of the domestic currency will appreciate the exchange rate by 1.3 to 1.8 per cent. This estimate is remarkably similar to the calibration conducted by Dominguez and Frankel (1993c), who themselves noted their estimate was larger than previous empirical findings. Secondly, the vast majority of the effect of an intervention on the exchange rate is found to occur during the day in which it is conducted, with only a smaller impact on subsequent days. Finally, we confirm findings that Australian central bank intervention policy can be characterised as leaning against the wind.

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Paper provided by Reserve Bank of Australia in its series RBA Research Discussion Papers with number rdp2003-04.

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Date of creation: Apr 2003
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Handle: RePEc:rba:rbardp:rdp2003-04
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  1. Vitale, Paolo, 1999. "Sterilised central bank intervention in the foreign exchange market," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 245-267, December.
  2. Kaminsky, Graciela L. & Lewis, Karen K., 1996. "Does foreign exchange intervention signal future monetary policy?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 285-312, April.
  3. Jeff M. Rogers & Pierre Siklos, 2001. "Foreign Exchange Market Intervention in Two Small Open Economies: The Canadian and Australian Experience," Research Paper Series 57, Quantitative Finance Research Centre, University of Technology, Sydney.
  4. Mark P. Taylor & Lucio Sarno, 2001. "Official Intervention in the Foreign Exchange Market: Is It Effective and, If So, How Does It Work?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 839-868, September.
  5. Anna J. Schwartz, 2000. "The Rise and Fall of Foreign Exchange Market Intervention," NBER Working Papers 7751, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Christopher J. Neely, 1998. "Technical analysis and the profitability of U.S. foreign exchange intervention," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 3-17.
  7. Ghosh, Atish R., 1992. "Is it signalling? Exchange intervention and the dollar-Deutschemark rate," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3-4), pages 201-220, May.
  8. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1984. "On the effects of sterilized intervention : An analysis of weekly data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 133-150, September.
  9. Dominguez & K., 1997. "The Market Microstructure of Central Bank Intervention," Working Papers 412, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  10. Martin D. D. Evans & Richard K. Lyons, 2001. "Portfolio Balance, Price Impact, and Secret Intervention," NBER Working Papers 8356, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Bhattacharya, Utpal & Weller, Paul, 1997. "The advantage to hiding one's hand: Speculation and central bank intervention in the foreign exchange market," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 251-277, July.
  12. Almekinders, G.J. & Eijffinger, S.C.W., 1996. "A friction model of daily Bundesbank and Federal Reserve intervention," Other publications TiSEM 9ca974cc-1549-4752-8dbe-0, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  13. Dominguez, Kathryn M., 1998. "Central bank intervention and exchange rate volatility1," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 161-190, February.
  14. Lewis, Karen K, 1995. "Are Foreign Exchange Intervention and Monetary Policy Related, and Does It Really Matter?," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 68(2), pages 185-214, April.
  15. Dominguez, Kathryn M & Frankel, Jeffrey A, 1993. "Does Foreign-Exchange Intervention Matter? The Portfolio Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1356-69, December.
  16. 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.
  17. Baillie, Richard T. & Osterberg, William P., 1997. "Why do central banks intervene?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 909-919, December.
  18. Fischer, Andreas M & Zurlinden, Mathias, 1999. "Exchange Rate Effects of Central Bank Interventions: An Analysis of Transaction Prices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(458), pages 662-76, October.
  19. Chang, Yuanchen & Taylor, Stephen J., 1998. "Intraday effects of foreign exchange intervention by the Bank of Japan1," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 191-210, February.
  20. Kim, Suk-Joong & Sheen, Jeffrey, 2002. "The determinants of foreign exchange intervention by central banks: evidence from Australia," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 619-649, October.
  21. Bonser-Neal, Catherine & Tanner, Glenn, 1996. "Central bank intervention and the volatility of foreign exchange rates: evidence from the options market," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 853-878, December.
  22. Kim, Suk-Joong & Kortian, Tro & Sheen, Jeffrey, 2000. "Central bank intervention and exchange rate volatility -- Australian evidence," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 10(3-4), pages 381-405, December.
  23. Cheung, Yin-Wong & Wong, Clement Yuk-Pang, 2000. "A survey of market practitioners' views on exchange rate dynamics," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 401-419, August.
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