Balance-of-Payments Theory and the United Kingdom Experience by A.P. Thirlwall

By A.P. Thirlwall

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Sample text

It was to overcome these features of the international economy of the 1930s which led to the Bretton Woods agreement and the establishment of the International Monetary Fund in 1944. K. Experience (ii) Pegged Exchange Rates An exchange rate is said to be pegged if the authorities accept an obligation to prevent the market rate from deviating by more than a specified amount from the peg (called a margin). Twice the margin gives the band - or maximum range within which the exchange is allowed to move without a change in the peg (or central rate).

4, however, that a change in the exchange rate will not rectify imbalance in all circumstances; it depends on the relative slopes of the demand and supply curves of foreign exchange. Starting from a position of imbalance where the demand for dollars exceeds the supply, a rise in the sterling price of dollars will restore balance as long as the demand for dollars is reduced by more than the supply. This will be so as long as the supply curve of dollars is either positively sloped or not more negatively sloped than the demand curve.

The two markets, and the two rates of exchange, are linked by three main factors: interest-rate differences between countries; speculation; and 'hedging' and 'covering'. K. Experience country to another, and interest rates were the same at home and abroad, there would be no difference between the spot and forward rates of exchange within and between countries. For example, if the forward rate was higher than the spot rate, it would pay to purchase currency spot and sell it simultaneously at the higher forward rate, investing the funds in a foreign bank (paying the same interest rate as domestic banks) until the forward contract expired.

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