OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

The Changing Role of the Exchange Rate for Macroeconomic Adjustment

Recent episodes of large exchange rate movements, such as for Japan or the United Kingdom, have typically not been associated with large changes in trade balances and despite the polarisation of international investment positions large currency fluctuations during the global crisis of 2008-09 did not cause significant financial dislocations. This paper presents empirical evidence that for a number of OECD countries firms’ increasing participation in global value chains may have contributed to reducing exchange rate pass-through to the terms of trade, which may in turn have contributed to reducing the response of trade balances to exchange rate changes. Further empirical evidence suggests that over the past two decades large net external debtor countries, including emerging market economies, have reduced net aggregate foreign currency exposures, thereby limiting direct financial effects of exchange rate fluctuations through the valuation of external assets and liabilities. However, sizable increases in foreign currency borrowing for a number of emerging market economies in the wake of the global crisis of 2008-09, including by non-financial corporations, suggest that large exchange rate movements may nonetheless cause financial stress for exposed sectors and entities that may percolate through the financial system despite limited aggregate exposures.


Keywords: currency mismatches, exchange rates, current account, financial account

F32: International Economics / International Finance / Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements;
F31: International Economics / International Finance / Foreign Exchange;
F40: International Economics / Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance / Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance: General