Tag: exchange rate

The World Economic Forum has warned that 2009 may see a ‘hard landing’ for China. In the context of China, this does not necessarily mean a recession, but the WEF report does identify a significant possible slowdown in Chinese growth. Given that high growth in China has led to a high level of demand for imports from other countries, especailly for raw materials and semi-finished goods, any slowdown in Chinese economic growth may have significant repercussions in the rest of the world. Any hopes that China and the emerging economies may help the rest of the world through their recessions have been dashed by data showing that even exports from China have been falling in October and November 2008 by 2.2% and 2.8% respectively. This has meant that aggregate demand in China is falling and may cause further problems, not only for China, but for the whole world economy.

China slowdown ‘big global risk’ BBC News Online (13/1/09)
China’s exports in record decline BBC News Online (13/1/09)
China’s exports slump in sharpest decline in decade Times Online (13/1/09)
World Economic Forum highlights Chinese slump as biggest risk to global economy Telegraph (14/1/09)
Chinese exports fall by the biggest margin in a decade Telegraph (14/1/09)

Questions

  1. Explain the significance of the fall in Chinese exports for the Chinese economy.
  2. Analyse the principal causes of the fall in the level of Chinese exports.
  3. Assess how the changes in China’s trade position will affect the exchange rate of the Chinese currency, the yuan.
  4. Discuss policies that the Chinese government can implement to try to minimise the impact of the fall in exports on economic growth.

The Koruna (or crown) was the national currency of Slovakia. This may not be something you knew until you read it just now and you might as well forget the fact straight away. This is because the Koruna ceased to exist at midnight on December 31st 2008 when Slovakia became the 16th member of the eurozone. The official conversion rate between the Koruna and the euro has been advertised extensively in Slovakia and is 30.126. Slovakians now have to get used to a complete change in their notes and coins as euro notes and coins became legal tender on January 1st 2009. So what will be the impact for Slovakia of joining the eurozone?

Slovakia becomes eurozone member BBC News Online (1/1/09)
Slovakia embraces the euro BBC News Online (31/12/08)
Slovakia joins eurozone in new year Times Online (30/12/08)
Slovakia adopts the euro on January 1 Times Online (29/12/08)

Questions

  1. Examine the likely impact on the Slovakian economy of joining the euro at a time of global downturn.
  2. Explain three factors that the Slovakian authorities would have needed to consider when setting the conversion rate for the Koruna to the euro.
  3. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages to Slovakia of joining the eurozone.

The Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire was the location for a historically significant meeting in the summer of 1944. John Maynard Keynes was part of the British negotiating team at a meeting to plan the post World War II economic order. As a result of the meeting an adjustable peg system of semi-fixed exchange rates was developed and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD – now part of the World Bank Group) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were also born. As a result of this meeting the small rural location of Bretton Woods has moved into the economics lexicon. The institutions born out of this meeting have been subject to considerable criticism in recent years and in the first article linked to below, George Monbiot argues that it is unfair to attach this criticism to Lord Keynes. With a recent meeting of the G20 having been dubbed as Bretton Woods II, the original meeting and its outcomes have been thrown back into the limelight.

Keynes is innocent: the toxic spawn of Bretton Woods was no plan of his Guardian (18/11/08)
How Bretton Woods reshaped the world Guardian (14/11/08)
Shaping the world: Bretton Woods 1944 Guardian (14/11/08)
It takes two Guardian (5/12/08)

Questions

  1. Write a short paragraph summarising the outcomes of the Bretton Woods conference in 1944.
  2. Explain the role in the world financial system of (a) the World Bank and (b) the IMF.
  3. Assess the possible validity of the criticisms that have been levelled at the IMF. See particularly the George Monbiot article.
  4. Using diagrams as appropriate, explain how the system of semi-fixed exchange rates negotiated at Bretton Woods worked to maintain economic stability.
  5. Examine the principal reasons for the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system.

It was over 25 years ago that £1 was worth more than $2 on the foreign exchange markets, but that important psychological barrier was broken again this month as the value of sterling crept above $2 on foreign exchange markets. The continuing weakness of the dollar is making life difficult for UK exporters and also for firms in the Eurozone as the weakness in the dollar also affects the Euro and other major currencies.

Pound reaches 26-year dollar high BBC News Online (18/4/07)
UK pound goes through $2 barrier BBC News Online (17/4/07)
Yen hits record low against euro BBC News Online (16/4/07)
Pound hits 25-year dollar high Guardian (18/4/07)
British pound breaks through $2 International Herald Tribune (17/4/07)

Questions

1. Explain the impact of the weak value of the dollar on international markets on the price of UK imports and exports.
2. Assess the likely impact of the high value of sterling on the major UK economic targets.
3. Assess policies that the government could use to try to reduce the value of sterling against the dollar if they chose to.