Exchange Rates

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Exchange Rates Missing Two Graphs “For many years it has been believed that if countries import more than they export and so have a deficit on the current account of the balance of payments then their currencies will tend to fall in value. Yet over the last two years the dollar has been a strong currency even though USA has had a record current account deficit. How can this fact be explained? What does it tell us about the factors, which determine exchange rates? What policy decisions with regard to exchange rates do you think USA and other governments should take in response to these developments?” Exchange rates Exchange Rate, in relation to foreign exchange of money, is the price of a country's currency expressed in terms of one unit of another country's currency. The Foreign Exchange rate indicates the value of any given currency relatively to another. Thus, a pound sterling note is money in the United Kingdom, but is foreign exchange in the U.S. The use of foreign exchange arises because different nations have different monetary units, and the currency of one country cannot be used for making payments in another country. Because of trade, travel, and other transactions between individuals and business enterprises of different countries, it becomes necessary to convert money into the currency of other countries in order to pay for goods or services in those countries. The transfer of money values from one country to another and the determination of the price at which the currency of one country will be surrendered for that of another constitute the main problems of foreign exchange. Foreign exchange is a commodity, and its price fluctuates in accordance with supply and demand. Exchange rates are published daily in the principal newspapers of the world. By international agreement fixed exchange rates with a narrow margin of fluctuation existed until 1973, when floating rates were adopted that fluctuate as supply and demand dictate. Balance of Payments Balance of Payments is the relationship between the amounts of money a nation spends abroad and the income it receives from other nations. The balance of payments is officially known as the Statement of International Transactions and includes two main accounts. The first, the current account, tracks activity in merchandise trade - exporting and importing, income earned from inves... ... middle of paper ... ...on in 1991 but rose to $345.6 billion in 1999 (BoP). Much of the improvement in the U.S. trade deficit between 1987 and 1991 resulted from a depreciation of the dollar and the recession in 1990-1991. The multilateral trade-weighted real value of the U.S. dollar reached a high in 1985, then dropped sharply from 1986 through 1988. However, the worsening of the deficit in 1993-95 can be attributed primarily to the faster recovery from recession in the United States than in Europe or Japan. In 1997-99, the Asian financial crisis caused a sizable fall in U.S. exports to Asia and a marked increase in U.S. imports from Asia. The broadest measure of U.S. international economic transactions is the balance on current account. In addition to merchandise trade, it includes trade in services and unilateral transfers. The current account deficit increased in 1999 to a record $331.5 billion from $217.1 billion in 1998. After reaching a peak of $160.7 billion in 1987, the current account deficit had fallen steadily through 1991 when it reached a surplus of $6.6 billion. Economic projections indicate that the current account deficit may reach between $430-$450 billion in 2000.

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