Issues on the choice of Exchange Rate Regimes and Currency Boards – An Analytical Survey
Currency boards have often been at the heart of monetary reforms proposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) : they have been instrumental either as a short term crisis management strategy that successfully restores financial order for many countries seeking stabilization in the aftermath of prolonged economic crisis or as a way of importing monetary credibility as part of a medium / long term strategy for conducting monetary policy. As backbone of a credible exchange-rate based stabilisation programme, they have also been the linchpin of several heterodox or orthodox programmes aimed at mitigating hyperinflation. This paper attempts to synthetize our thinking about currency boards by reviewing their strengths and weaknesses and endeavours to seek real world examples to rationalise their applicability as opposed to alternative exchange rate regimes. Architects of international financial stability at the IMF or at central banks often ponder about the prerequisites for such programme to work well. These are also reviewed using appropriate economic theory where necessary. Finally, this paper sheds light on the best exchange rate regime that may be adopted in the intermediate term by those countries wishing to adopt a currency board, not as a quick fix solution to end an economic chaos but rather, as integral part of a long term monetary strategy.
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