- The British use the pound sterling, while Germans use the euro, so a British exporter will receive euros from export sales, which will need to be exchanged for pounds. A stronger euro will mean more pounds per euro, so the exporter will be better off. In addition, the lower price for German imports will stimulate demand for British exports. For both these reasons, a stronger euro benefits the British exporter.
- The Dutch use euros while the Chileans use pesos, so the Dutch tourist needs to turn euros into Chilean pesos. An increase in the euro means that the tourist will get more pesos per euro. As a consequence, the Dutch tourist will have a less expensive vacation than he planned, so the tourist will be better off.
- The Greek use euros while the Canadians use dollars. An increase in the euro means it will buy more Canadian dollars. As a result, the Greek bank will see a decrease in the cost of the Canadian bonds, so it may purchase more bonds. Either way, the Greek bank benefits.
- Since both the French and Germans use the euro, an increase in the euro, in terms of other currencies, should have no impact on the French exporter.
Expected depreciation in a currency will lead people to divest themselves of the currency. We should expect to see an increase in the supply of pounds and a decrease in demand for pounds. The result should be a decrease in the value of the pound vis à vis the dollar.
Lower U.S. interest rates make U.S. assets less desirable compared to assets in the European Union. We should expect to see a decrease in demand for dollars and an increase in supply of dollars in foreign currency markets. As a result, we should expect to see the dollar depreciate compared to the euro.
A decrease in Argentine inflation relative to other countries should cause an increase in demand for pesos, a decrease in supply of pesos, and an appreciation of the peso in foreign currency markets.
The problem occurs when banks borrow foreign currency but lend in domestic currency. Since banks’ assets (loans they made) are in domestic currency, while their debts (money they borrowed) are in foreign currency, when the domestic currency declines, their debts grow larger. If the domestic currency falls substantially in value, as happened during the Asian financial crisis, then the banking system could fail. This problem is unlikely to occur for U.S. banks because, even when they borrow from abroad, they tend to borrow dollars. Remember, there are trillions of dollars in circulation in the global economy. Since both assets and debts are in dollars, a change in the value of the dollar does not cause banking system failure the way it can when banks borrow in foreign currency.
While capital flight is possible in either case, if a country borrows to invest in real capital it is more likely to be able to generate the income to pay back its debts than a country that borrows to finance consumption. As a result, an investment-stimulated economy is less likely to provoke capital flight and economic recession.
A contractionary monetary policy, by driving up domestic interest rates, would cause the currency to appreciate. The higher value of the currency in foreign exchange markets would reduce exports, since from the perspective of foreign buyers, they are now more expensive. The higher value of the currency would similarly stimulate imports, since they would now be cheaper from the perspective of domestic buyers. Lower exports and higher imports cause net exports (EX – IM) to fall, which causes aggregate demand to fall. The result would be a decrease in GDP working through the exchange rate mechanism reinforcing the effect contractionary monetary policy has on domestic investment expenditure. However, cheaper imports would stimulate aggregate supply, bringing GDP back to potential, though at a lower price level.
For a currency to fall, a central bank need only supply more of its currency in foreign exchange markets. It can print as much domestic currency as it likes. For a currency to rise, a central bank needs to buy its currency in foreign exchange markets, paying with foreign currency. Since no central bank has an infinite amount of foreign currency reserves, it cannot buy its currency indefinitely.
Variations in exchange rates, because they change import and export prices, disturb international trade flows. When trade is a large part of a nation’s economic activity, government will find it more advantageous to fix exchange rates to minimize disruptions of trade flows.