Monday, 23 June 2014


Dear IGCSE Grade 10 Students,
you can use this notes to write answers from this topic. please use this notes as reference only......

Factors which influence the exchange rate
An exchange rate is determined by supply and demand factors. These are the various factors which determine the demand and supply of a currency.
1. Inflation
If inflation in the UK is lower than elsewhere, then UK exports will become more competitive and there will be an increase in demand for £s. Also foreign goods will be less competitive and so UK citizens will supply less £s to buy foreign goods.
Therefore the rate of £ will tend to increase.
2. Interest Rates
If UK interest rates rise relative to elsewhere, it will become more attractive to deposit money in the UK, Therefore demand for Sterling will rise. This is known as “hot money flows” and is an important short run determinant of the value of a currency.
3. Speculation
If speculators believe the sterling will rise in the future, they will demand more now to be able to make a profit. This increase in demand will cause the value to rise.
Therefore movements in the exchange rate do not always reflect economic fundamentals, but are often driven by the sentiments of the financial markets.
For example, if markets see news which makes an interest rate increase more likely, the value of the Pound will probably rise in anticipation.
4. Change in competitiveness
If British goods become more attractive and competitive this will also cause the value of the Exchange Rate to rise. This is important for determining the long run value of the Pound.
5. Relative strength of other currencies
Between 1999 and 2001 the £ appreciated because the Euro was seen as a weak currency.
6. Balance of Payments
A large deficit on the current account means that the value of imports is greater than the value of exports. If this is financed by a suplus on the financial / capital account then this is OK. But a country who struggles to attract enough capital inflows will see a depreciation in the currency. (For example current account deficit in US of 7% of GDP was one reason for depreciation of dollar in 2006-07)

The Determination of Exchange Rates in a free market 

· The rate of exchange is determined by supply and demand
· When a UK citizen wishes to purchase goods from US, he supplies pounds. The higher the exchange rate the more dollars he will get for a pound
· When a US citizen wishes to purchase UK goods they supply dollars and demand pounds.
If you are going on holiday to the US it is best if there is an appreciation in Sterling so that you get more dollars for your £
Economic Effects of an Appreciation
An appreciation means an increase in the value of a currency. It means a currency is worth more in terms of foreign currency.
e.g. If £1 = €1 An appreciation of Pound could mean £1 =€1.2

Effects of an Appreciation

·         Exports more expensive, therefore less UK exports will be demanded
·         Imports are cheaper, therefore more imports will be bought.
·         A fall in AD, causing lower growth.
·         Lower inflation because:
·         import prices are cheaper
·         Lower AD and less demand pull inflation
·         More incentives to cut costs

Economic Effect of a Devaluation of the Currency
A devaluation occurs in a fixed exchange rate. A depreciation occurs in a floating exchange rate system. Both mean a fall in the value of the currency.
Economic Revision Notes on Devaluation
1. A devaluation of the exchange rate will make exports more competitive and appear cheaper to foreigners. This will increase demand for exports
2. A devaluation means imports will become more expensive. This will reduce demand for imports.
3. Higher economic growth. Part of AD is X-M Therefore higher exports and lower imports will increase AD. Higher AD is likely to cause higher Real GDP and inflation.
4. Inflation is likely to occur because:
·                      i) Imports are more expensive causing cost push inflation.
·                      ii) AD is increasing causing demand pull inflation
·                      iii) With exports becoming cheaper manufacturers may have less incentive to cut costs and become more efficient. Therefore over time costs may increase.
The effect on inflation will depend on other factors such as:
·         iv) Spare capacity in the economy. E.g. in a recession, a devaluation is unlikely to cause inflation
·         v) Do firms pass increased import costs onto consumers? Firms may reduce their profit margins, at least in the short run.
·         vi) Import prices are not the only determinant of inflation. Other factors affecting inflation such as wage increases may be important
5. There is likely to be an improvement in the current account balance of payments.
This is because exports are increasing and imports are falling

Government Intervention  in the Foreign Exchange market
Under certain circumstances, the government might want to intervene in the foreign exchange markets to influence the level of the exchange rate.
Methods to Influence the Exchange Rate
1.   Reserves and Borrowing. If the value of an exchange rate is falling and the government wants to maintain its original value it can use its foreign exchange reserves - e.g. selling its dollars reserves and purchase pounds. This purchase of Pound sterling should increase its value.
2.   Borrow The government can also borrow foreign currency from abroad to be able to buy sterling.
3.                  Changing interest rates (In UK this is now done by the MPC) higher interest rates will cause hot money flows and increase demand for sterling. Higher interest rates make it relatively more attractive to save in the UK.
4.   Reduce Inflation
·   Through either tight fiscal or Monetary policy Aggregate Demand and hence inflation can be reduced.
·   By decreasing AD consumers will spend less and  purchase less imports and so will supply less pounds. This will increase the value of the ER
·   Lower inflation rate will also help because British goods will become more competitive. Thus the demand for Sterling will rise.

However this policy has an obvious side effect because lower AD will cause lower growth and higher unemployment
5.   Supply side measure to increase the competitiveness of the economy. This will take along time to have an effect.

Fixed Exchange Rates

Definition of a Fixed Exchange Rate: This occurs when the government seeks to keep the value of a currency fixed against another currency. e.g. the value of the Pound is fixed at £1 = €1.1
Semi Fixed Exchange Rate. This occurs when the government seeks to keep the value of a currency between a band of exchange rate. In other words, the exchange rate can fluctuate within a narrow band.
E.g. the Pound Sterling could fluctuate between a target exchange rate of £1 = €1.1 and £1 = €1.2
Definition of a Floating Exchange Rate: this is when the govt does not intervene in the foreign exchange market but allowss market forces to determine the level of a currency.
· Exchange Rate Mechanism ERM. This was a semi fixed exchange rate where EU countries sought to keep their currencies fixed within certain bands against the D-Mark. The ERM was the forerunner of the Euro
Advantages of Fixed Exchange Rate
1. If the value of currencies fluctuate significantly this can cause problems for firms engaged in Trade.
·         For example if a firm is exporting to the US, a rapid appreciation in sterling would make its exports uncompetitive and therefore may go out of business.
·         If a firm relied on imported raw materials a devaluation would increase the costs of imports and would reduce profitability
2. The uncertainty of exchange rate fluctuations can therefore reduce the incentive for firms to invest in export capacity. Some Japanese firms have said that the UK's reluctance to join the Euro and provide a stable exchange rates maker the UK a less desirable place to invest.
3. Governments who allow their exchange rate to devalue may cause inflationary pressures to occur. This is because AD increases, import prices increase and firms have less incentive to cut costs.
4. A rapid appreciation in the exchange rate will badly effect manufacturing firms who export, this may also cause a worsening of the current account.
5. Joining a fixed exchange rate may cause inflationary expectations to be lower

Disadvantage of Fixed Exchange Rates
1. To maintain a fixed level of the exchange rate may conflict with other macroeconomic objectives.
· If a currency is falling below its band the govt will have to intervene. It can do this by buying sterling but this is only a short term measure.
· The most effective way to increase the value of a currency is to raise interest rates. This will increase hot money flows and also reduce inflationary pressures.
· However higher interest rates will cause lower AD and economic growth, if the economy is growing slowly this may cause a recession and rising unemployment
2. It is difficult to respond to temporary shocks. For example an oil importer may face a balance of payments deficit if oil price increases, but in a fixed exchange rate there is little chance to devalue


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