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Exchange Rates Expanded


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  • 1. Exchange Rates
  • 2. Overview
    Exchange Rates: why they change, some illustrations
    The current crisis in Europe and the future of the Euro
    Managing Exchange Risk
    Q & A
  • 3. What is the exchange rate?
    Price of one currency in terms of another
  • 4. Allows room for creativity..!
    Goldman Sachs in 2001
    Greek govt not allowed to have budget deficit in excess of 3%
    So created a loan in dollars, swapped it for euro at a fictional exchange rate
    Taking repayment in future lottery receipts!
    What is the exchange rate?
    Whatever you want it to be?
  • 5. Chinese yuan
  • 6. Trade-weighted USD
    Fallen 25% since 2002
    15% since 2009
  • 7. So..
    Why do exchange rates change?
  • 8. Fundamental forces..
    Changes in demand/supply for goods and services of the respective countries
    Japanese yen in the ‘60s and ‘70s
    Capital Flows
    Inflation: the law of PPP
    Government intervention: but does it work?
    Shelter in a Panic
    Mundell’s Impossible Trinity
  • 9. Euromarkets
    A dollar on deposit outside the US
    $ 5 trillion in april 2011
    M1 in US was $1.9 trillion
  • 10. Purchasing Power Parity
    April 2011, buy 1 widget for USD 1 in US,
    Rs. 45 in India
    Inflation in US = 0%, India = 10%
    April 2012: Same widget will sell for USD 1 in US, Rs. 49.50 in India
    In 2012, 1 USD must equal Rs. 49.50
    if 1 USD = Rs. 55, could have sold widget in US, converted to Rs. 55, bought widget in India at Rs. 49.50, made profit of Rs. 5.50
  • 11. Interest Rate Parity
    Get $102 in US, convert back to INR at S
    Borrow Rs. 4500 in India at 10% p.a.
    Invest $100 at 2 % p.a. in US
    1 year
    April 2011
    Spot rate
    1 USD= Rs. 45
    What must S be?
    S = 4500 x (1 + 0.1) / 102
  • 12. Interest rates..London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR)
  • 13. Principle is..
    Cannot make money without taking risk
    To really eliminate risk, should have sold USD forward at F
    So ‘covered interest rate parity’ says:
    F= 45 x (1 + 0.1) / (1+0.02))
    F = current spot rate x (1 + int rate 1)/(1 + int rate 2)
  • 14. PPP and IRP
    Interest rate = real rate plus inflation
    Real rates tend to be similar and small
    So interest rate differences mirror inflation differences
    PPP and IRP are in step with each other.. Though not perfectly
  • 15. Chinese yuan
  • 16. Why the slide in the dollar?
    Everyone agrees: US current account deficit = 6% GDP, twice as high as when previously collapsed (under Reagan), higher than Indonesia and Argentina before their crises!
    Today, Japan finances 25% of the deficit by buying US assets
    Japanese population ageing, investments will have to be liquidated to pay for their upkeep
    Anyway Japan is not in great shape after the nuclear disaster
  • 17. General rule..
    If it can’t go on forever… it won’t!
    Long run: dollar has to slide enough to make US exports cheap enough to balance the current account deficit. (at least substantially so..
    US savings rate must increase so don’t need foreign capital to finance investments.
  • 18. China…
    Probably currency is undervalued, by government fiat
    Helps exports but hurts imports
    Sitting on trillions of dollars of US treasury securities
    Why? Because exports booming and capital flowing in – could have let yuan rise, but did not want to, so kept soaking up the dollars as they flooded in
  • 19. Now.. Getting nervous..
    If dollar falls (yuan rises), enormous loss to Chinese Treasury
    Chinese push for alternative reserve currency
    But in reality can’t do anything.. Just want others to bail them out of a mess..but not willing to do anything about it themselves
  • 20. The Impossible Trinity: Robert Mundell
    The 3 Wishes…
    Stable exchange rates
    Open financial markets
    Flexibility in monetary policy
    Theorem: you cannot have all 3 !
    System only has 2 degrees of freedom.
    You choose which 2 you want!
  • 21. Illustration..
    Argentina: Currency Board, i.e., fixed exchange rate of peso wrt dollar (1 to 1)- 1991
    Opened up markets to allow free flow of capital
    So far so good
  • 22. Argentina 1991 to 1993
    Inflation at home: 40% over 2 years versus 6% in US.
    Law of Purchasing Power Parity says peso overvalued
    ’93: Collapse of Mexico caused investors to panic: get out of Latin America!
    US Bank calls back loan to Argentine client – client withdraws pesos from his Argentine bank, converts to dollars, returns loan.
    Now Argentine bank must replenish its reserves, so calls its own peso loans.. Net result: credit squeeze in Argentina, businesses suffer..
  • 23. What can Argentine Central Bank do?
    Normally, simply print more pesos to halt the decay.. But can it? Remember the currency board!
    Other investors start worrying about Argentine economy, start converting pesos into dollars and sending it out of the country..
    Panic and Terror! Economy slides into Recession..Government can do nothing.
  • 24. Why?
    Because allowing capital to flow (desirable no. 2) and fixed exchange rate (desirable number 1)
    So lost control of ability to manage the economy (desirable number 3!)
  • 25. Another illustration: UK and George Soros
    1990: UK joined the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM)… midway point to common currency.
    Germany reunification: raised interest rates. UK, along with rest of Europe, forced to raise interest rates too else capital would flow from UK to Germany (since it could)
    UK already in recession.. Recession gets worse.
  • 26. Enter Soros!
    Soros foresaw that UK would be forced to drop interest rates and get out of the ERM
    Dropping rates to remove choke on economy, let sterling fall so UK assets would become cheaper, capital can flow to UK assets, UK exports also become cheaper, good for economy in recession.
    He decided to make it happen! (sounds familiar? )
  • 27. The modus operandi
    Established $15 billion credit line to borrow in sterling and convert to $ at will.
    Began short-selling the sterling and telling everyone about it.
    Other investors start believing it and pulling out of sterling.
    Bank of England attempted to defend by buying sterling and selling $ - no effect. Tried raising interest rates, public outcry forced it to withdraw.
    Sterling taken off the ERM, fell 15% and stabilized. Soros made $1 billion in 3 weeks
  • 28. Moral:
    You cannot have low interest rates and liberal monetary policy to stimulate your economy if you have free capital markets and fixed exchange rates!
    But.. Happy ending, in a way. UK economy did not suffer, Soros made $1B ..
  • 29. The Asian Crisisand why China and India escaped it!
    In a word, because didn’t have free capital mobility, didn’t allow capital to slosh in and out..
    Is convertibility on the capital account always good?!
  • 30. The Story of Thailand (and Indonesia)
    Asian Tigers! Capital flowed to ‘emerging markets’, partly because interest rates in UK and US far too low.
    1994: $256 billion flowed to Asia (mostly yen, sterling and dollar stayed on the sidelines)
  • 31. Typical transaction
    Japanese bank/fund makes loan in yen to a Thai ‘finance company’, who goes to Central Bank of Thailand, converts to baht and makes loan to Thai businessman
    Increase in demand for baht by finance company, supply of yen: baht exchange rate rising.
    Bank of Thailand committed to stable exchange rate, so had to flood domestic economy with baht to keep its value constant.
    Most of the credit went into real estate..
    So far so good
  • 32. What are Thais doing with the money?
    Indonesia: Peregrine and Suharto’s daughter
    Who are the finance companies anyway?
    Merely channels, close links to politicians
    What incentive to make good loans? Moral Hazard!
  • 33. The Shock of 1997
    Some of the finance company’s investments tanked..real estate bubble!
    Foreign lenders reduced lending..
    Meanwhile demand for imports continued unabated, but supply of yen baht declining and yen rising
    Now Central Bank forced to do opposite: keep baht up and yen down. Not so easy because you can’t print yen!
    Could have reduced baht supply but fear of recession
    Or: could have let baht slide
  • 34. Twist in the tale
    Why not let the baht slide and the yen rise? Because too many businesses had loans in yen!
    Thais saw the writing on the wall and began pulling out of baht and putting their money in yen/dollar deposits abroad: even more pressure on Central Bank, running out of dollars now!
    Thai government failed to either let currency slide or stop movement of capital. Reserves ran down to zero.
    Baht in free fall finally.
    Should have fallen 15% for stability
  • 35. Ok, so did the sterling
    Happy ending, right?
    No.. Because positive feedback loop
    Baht fell 50% in 3 months..
  • 36. The positive feedback loop
    Loss of confidence
    Financial problems for
    Currency falling,
    Full Scale Melt-down!
  • 37. Why did China and India escape?
    Didn’t allow capital to flow in and out.
    Moral: if your house is not in order, don’t open up to the world and expect to be safe!
    The real tipping point: foreign debt.
    (RBI’s recent curbs on ECB.. Make sense?)
  • 38. A Greek Tragedy..
    And Spanish, and Irish, and Portuguese and …
  • 39. The Crisis
    Ultimately triggered by the collapse of the real estate bubble
    As in the US…
  • 40. The Origins..
    Money had poured into Greece, Spain, Ireland to finance housing, resorts..
    Incomes had soared as money poured in
    Easy to borrow as interest rates low across Europe, same as Germany (it’s a Euro loan, after all, isn’t it?)
    When the bubble burst…
    Government Revenues plunged (hardly anyone pays income tax in Greece)
    Wages and Prices are 20-30% too high
  • 41. Governments finances ..
    Greece: debt is 150% of GDP (govt had lied about it… panic when discovered)
    Spanish banks active in lending to Ireland, UK and all over Europe, may need to be rescued
    Ireland: government unilaterally guaranteed all deposits of banks, putting its own solvency into question
    Spain, Greece are welfare states, unemployment benefits..
  • 42. Rescue?
    IMF, European Central Bank (effectively Germany and France) have created credit lines
    At very high interest
    Current yield on 10 year bonds (in Euros!)
    Greece: 12%
    Ireland: 9%
    Spain: 6%
    Germany : 3%
  • 43. Meanwhile..pain at home
    Riots in Athens as government cuts back spending
    Employment fallen 10% in Spain, 14% Ireland
  • 44. Why is all this happening?
    Counter-examples: Iceland
  • 45. Iceland..
    Let currency drop 40%
    Forces across-the-board wage and price cuts
    Exports have increased
    Economy is recovering..
  • 46. What is the difference?
    Have we seen this movie before?
  • 47. Remember Argentina?
    The peso board is the same as the Euro!
    Can Spain, Greece, Ireland devalue their currencies?
    Can they pump money into their economies to revive it?
    Do they HAVE their own currency?
  • 48. Counter –example 2
  • 49. What’s the difference?
    Nevada is part of the US, social security cheques come from the Federal Government, stimulus money comes from Washington
    People can move to another state (California is next door) in search of jobs
  • 50. Despite all the dreams..
    Labor mobility in Europe remains low:
    Language, culture, biases still barriers
    Economic integration has fallen far behind monetary integration
    Mundell foresaw this before 1999..
  • 51. So.. What is the future of Europe?
  • 52. Option 1: Blood, Sweat, Toil and Tears
    Wages, prices slowly forced down until equilibrium
  • 53. Option II:
    Restructure Debt
    Euphemism for
    DEFAULT !!!
    Markets may be expecting this: why else would yields on government bonds be so high?
  • 54. Option III:
    Abandon the Euro: be like Iceland!
    Is it even possible?
    Even the slightest hint of it will cause a run on banks.. But what if the run happens anyway?
  • 55. Option IV:
    United States Of Europe
    Germany, France pay off other countries’ debts..
    Which is why the US works.. Remember Nevada!
  • 56. Dealing with Exchange risk
  • 57. So.. What can an Indian Company do?
    Predict the exchange rate..?
    Who is good at it?
    What is the best predictor of the exchange rate?
  • 58. What business are we in?
    Should we try to predict the exchange rates, make money on it?
    Should we trust to God and donothing?
    Should we insulate our business completely from forex risk?
    If we do hedge, how much should we hedge?
  • 59. Forecasting…
    Exchange Rates:
    Euromoney Contest – 12 experts, as good as a monkey tossing a coin!
    Best: expected exchange rate tomorrow = today’s rate!!
    Much better than sophisticated econometric models, better than experts..
    Yet we pay for experts.. Why?
  • 60. Hedge your bets..
    Forward ‘Cover’..!
    Is it free? Forward premium = expected change in exchange rate!
    Forward rate is an unbiased predictor of the future spot rate
    (I didn’t say ‘good’ predictor’!!)
    Can you ‘cover’ reduction in business volume?!
    What if $ rises and US economy contracts?
    They will balance each other without hedging
    $ rose 15% in the 3 quarters of recession in 2009
    Options.. Cost is about 6%, depending on tenure etc
  • 61. Spot rate 1 USD = Rs. 44.80
    Spot rate: 1 USD = Rs. 45.00
    Payment expected $100 from client
    Go to Bank: sell USD forward at Rs. 44.50.
    30 days
    Collect INR 100 x 44.50
    Today: send invoice for $100
  • 62. So.. Forward Contract
    Establishes the price today for a transaction that will happen in the future
    Regardless of what the spot price ison that future date
  • 63. Forward rate quoted..
    Usually as premium or discount to current spot rate, e.g.
    Spot rate 44.440
    1 week forward: 7.5 = 44.515
    1 month forward 25.5 = 44.655
    1 year forward 286.5 = 47.305
  • 64. Caution!!
    Forward contract is not optional
    If entered into, HAS to be fulfilled
    What if bid on contract and don’t get it?
    - Then buy/sell options, not forwards
  • 65. Managing exchange Risk
    Match outflows and inflows
    Shift operations to destination country: Volkswagen in Brazil
    Borrow in currency of revenues
    Swap existing debt into currency of revenues
    Improve brand image
    Diversify across Geographies .. Is Europe different from the US?
  • 66. A study by McKinsey
    198 companies
    Goal: reduce volatility of pre-tax earnings
    Assume absolutely optimal level of hedging with forward contracts
    Only 1 company reduced volatility by 20%
    Only 20 by 10% or more
    Forex risk is not the most important source of risk, so why bother so much with it?
  • 67. ‘the more you know about international finance, the more you realize how unimportant it is..’
    Paul Krugman, Trade Theorist