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Exchange Rate Forecasting Techniques, Survey Data, and Implications for the Foreign Exchange Market

  • Jeffrey Frankel and Kenneth Froot.

The paper presents new empirical results that elucidate the dynamics of the foreign exchange market. The first half of the paper is an updated study of the exchange rate expectations held by market participants, as reflected in responses to surveys, and contains the following conclusions. First, the bias observed in the forward discount as a predictor of the future spot rate is not attributable to an exchange risk premium, as is conventionally believed. Second, at short horizons forecasters tend to extrapolate recent trends, while at long horizons they tend to forecast a reversal. Third, the bias in expectations is robust in the samples, based on eight years of data across five currencies. The second half of the paper abandons the framework in which all market participants share the same forecast, to focus on the importance of heterogeneous expectations. Tests suggest that dispersion of opinion, as reflected in the standard deviation across respondents in the survey, affects the volume of trading in the market, and, in turn, the degree of volatility of the exchange rate. An example of how conflicting forecasts can lead to swings in the exchange rate is the model of "chartists and fundamentalists." The market weights assigned to the two models fluctuate over time in response to recent developments, leading to fluctuations in the demand for foreign currency. The paper ends with one piece of evidence to support the model: the fraction of foreign exchange forecasting services that use "technical analysis" did indeed increase sharply during 1983-85, but declined subsequently.

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Paper provided by University of California at Berkeley in its series Economics Working Papers with number 91-158.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 1991
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Handle: RePEc:ucb:calbwp:91-158
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Web page: http://www.haas.berkeley.edu/groups/iber/wps/econwp.html
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  1. Froot, Kenneth A. & Ito, Takatoshi, 1989. "On the consistency of short-run and long-run exchange rate expectations," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 487-510, December.
  2. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Kenneth A. Froot, 1985. "Using Survey Data to Test Some Standard Propositions Regarding Exchange Rate Expectations," NBER Working Papers 1672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Froot, Kenneth A & Frankel, Jeffrey A, 1989. "Forward Discount Bias: Is It an Exchange Risk Premium?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(1), pages 139-61, February.
  4. Campbell, John Y. & Clarida, Richard H., 1987. "The dollar and real interest rates," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 103-139, January.
  5. Charles Engel & James D. Hamilton, 1989. "Long Swings in the Exchange Rate: Are they in the Data and Do Markets Know It?," NBER Working Papers 3165, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Goodhart, Charles, 1988. "The Foreign Exchange Market: A Random Walk with a Dragging Anchor," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 55(220), pages 437-60, November.
  7. Takatoshi Ito, 1988. "Foreign Exchange Rate Expectations: Micro Survey Data," NBER Working Papers 2679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Dominguez, Kathryn M., 1986. "Are foreign exchange forecasts rational? : New evidence from survey data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 277-281.
  9. Paul R. Krugman, 1985. "Is the strong dollar sustainable?," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 103-155.
  10. J. Bradford De Long & Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers & Robert J. Waldmann, 1987. "The Economic Consequences of Noise Traders," NBER Working Papers 2395, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Kenneth A. Froot, 1986. "Short-term and long-term expectations of the yen/dollar exchange rate: evidence from survey data," International Finance Discussion Papers 292, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Culter, D.M. & Poterba, J.M. & Summers, L.H., 1990. "Speculative Dynamics," Working papers 544, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  13. Kees G. Koedijk & Mack Ott, 1987. "Risk aversion, efficient markets and the forward exchange rate," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Dec, pages 5-13.
  14. Fama, Eugene F., 1984. "Forward and spot exchange rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 319-338, November.
  15. Taylor, Mark P, 1989. "Charts, Noise and Fundamentals: A Study of the London Foreign Exchange Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 341, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Meese, Richard A. & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1983. "Empirical exchange rate models of the seventies : Do they fit out of sample?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1-2), pages 3-24, February.
  17. John G. Cragg & Burton G. Malkiel, 1982. "Expectations and the Structure of Share Prices," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number crag82-1, October.
  18. Bruce Kasman & Charles Pigott, 1988. "Interest rate divergences among the major industrial nations," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Aut, pages 28-44.
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