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Exchange rates during the crisis

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  • Weber, Sebastian
  • Wyplosz, Charles

Abstract

Nearly two years after the onset of the financial crises, many central banks have brought their policy interest rates down to, or close to zero. Various governments have seen their budget deficits soar. Both policies have affected exchange rates, partly through market expectations. With a majority of exchange rates officially floating, exchange rate movements do not necessarily reflect official decisions as was the case in the 1930s. Yet, also in the 2008 crisis, authorities have directly intervened in the foreign exchange market, sometimes in order to defend a falling currency but in other instances with the aim to limit appreciation pressure, akin of competitive devaluations. This paper documents the exchange rate interventions during the height of the 2008/09 financial crisis and identifies the countries which have particular high incentives to intervene in the foreign exchange market to competitively devalue their currency. While various countries had increased incentives to devalue, we find that direct exchange rate interventions have been rather limited and contagion of devaluation has been restricted to one regionally contained case. However, sharp market-driven exchange rate movements have reshaped competitive positions. It appears that these movements have so far not seriously disrupted global trade. After all, a world crisis is likely to require widespread exchange rate adjustments as different countries are affected in different ways and have different capacities to weather the shocks.

Suggested Citation

  • Weber, Sebastian & Wyplosz, Charles, 2009. "Exchange rates during the crisis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5059, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5059
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Marilyne Huchet-Bourdon & Jane Korinek, 2011. "To What Extent Do Exchange Rates and their Volatility Affect Trade?," OECD Trade Policy Papers 119, OECD Publishing.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Currencies and Exchange Rates; Debt Markets; Emerging Markets; Economic Stabilization; Economic Theory&Research;

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