FACTORS THAT AFFECT THE EQUILIBRIUM EXCHANGE RATE - Forex Management

Some of the factors that influence currency supply and demand are balance of payments, inflation rates, interest rates economic growth and political and economic risks.

Factors Affecting Equilibrium Exchange Rate

The factors affecting equilibrium exchange rate are

Balance of Payments:
Foreign exchange rate is the price of one currency in terms of another. The balance of payments summarizes the flow of economic transactions between residents of a given country and the residents of other countries during a certain period of time. Balance of payments represents the demand and supply of foreign exchange which ultimately determine the value of the currency. When the balance of payments of a country is continuously deficit, it implies that the demand for the currency of the country is lesser than its supply. Therefore, its value in the market declines. If the balance of payments is surplus continuously, it shows that the demand for the currency in the exchange market is higher than its supply and therefore the currency gains value.

Relative Inflation Rates:
Suppose that the supply of dollars increases relative to its demand. This excess growth in the money supply will cause inflation in the US, which means that US. Prices will begin to rise relative to prices of German goods and services, German consumers are likely to buy fewer US. products and begin switching to German substitutes leading to a decrease in the amount of euros supplied at every exchange rate.

Similarly higher prices in the United States will lead American consumers to substitute German imports for U.S. products, resulting in an increase in the demand for euros. In effect both Germans and Americans are searching for the best deals worldwide and will switch their purchases accordingly. Hence a higher rate of inflation in the United States than in Germany will simultaneously increase German exports to the United States and reduce U.S. exports to Germany.

In other words a higher rate of inflation in the United States than in Germany will lead to depreciation of the depreciation of the dollar relative to the euro or, to an appreciation of the euro relative to the dollar. In general, a nation running a relatively high rate of inflation will find its currency declining in value relative to the currencies of countries with lower inflation rates.

Relative Interest rates:
Interest rate differentials will also affect the equilibrium exchange rate. A rise in US interest rates relative to German rates all else being equal, will cause investors in both nations to switch from euro to dollar-denominated securities to take advantage of the higher dollar rates. The net result will be depreciation of the euro in the absence of government intervention.

It should be noted that the interest rates discussed here are real interest rates. The real interest rate equals the nominal or actual interest rate minus the rate of inflation. The distinction between nominal and real interest rates is critical in international finance. If the increase in U.S. rates relative to German rates just reflects higher U.S. inflation, the predicted result will be a weaker dollar. Only an increase in the real U.S. rate relative to the real German rate will result in an appreciating dollar.

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