Real Effective Exchange Rate Misalignment in the Euro Area: A Counterfactual Analysis
Were real effective exchange rates (REER) of Euro area member countries drastically misaligned at the outbreak of the global financial crisis? The answer is difficult to determine because economic theory gives no simple guideline for determining the equilibrium values of real exchange rates, and the determinants of those values might have been distorted as well. To overcome these limitations, we use synthetic matching to construct a counterfactual economy for each member as a linear combination of a large set of non-Euro area countries. We find that Euro area crisis countries are best described by a mixture of advanced and emerging economies. Comparing the actual REER with those of the counterfactuals gives sensible estimates of the misalignments at the start of the crisis: All peripheral countries were strongly overvalued, while high undervaluation is only observed for Finland.
Exchange Rate Regime, Real Misalignment and Currency Crises
Based on 69 sample countries, this paper examines the effect of macroeconomic fundamentals on real effective exchange rates (REER) in these sample countries. Using the misalignment of actual REER from its equilibrium level, we have estimated the factors explaining the extent of currency over- or under-valuation. Overall, we find that the higher the flexibility of the currency regime, the lower is the misalignment. The estimates are robust to different sub-samples of countries. We then explore the impact of such misalignment on the probability of a currency crisis in the next period, indicating the extent to which misalignment could be used as a leading indicator of a potential crisis. This paper thus makes a new contribution to the debate on the choice of exchange rate regime by bringing together real exchange rate misalignment and currency crisis literature.