The Federal Reserve as an Informed Foreign Exchange Trader: 1973 - 1995

33 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2011 Last revised: 3 Oct 2011

See all articles by Michael D. Bordo

Michael D. Bordo

Rutgers University, New Brunswick - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Owen Humpage

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Anna J. Schwartz

City University of New York (CUNY); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office

Date Written: September 2011

Abstract

If official interventions convey private information useful for price discovery in foreign-exchange markets, then they should have value as a forecast of near-term exchange-rate movements. Using a set of standard criteria, we show that approximately 60 percent of all U.S. foreign-exchange interventions between 1973 and 1995 were successful in this sense. This percentage, however, is no better than random. U.S. intervention sales and purchases of foreign exchange were incapable of forecasting dollar appreciations or depreciations. U.S. interventions, however, were associated with more moderate dollar movements in a manner consistent with leaning against the wind, but only about 22 percent of all U.S. interventions conformed to this pattern. We also found that the larger the size of an intervention, the greater was its probability of success, although some interventions were inefficiently large. Other potential characteristics of intervention, notably coordination and secrecy, did not seem to influence our success rates.

Suggested Citation

Bordo, Michael D. and Humpage, Owen and Schwartz, Anna J., The Federal Reserve as an Informed Foreign Exchange Trader: 1973 - 1995 (September 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w17425. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1931196

Michael D. Bordo (Contact Author)

Rutgers University, New Brunswick - Department of Economics ( email )

New Brunswick, NJ
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Owen Humpage

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland ( email )

PO Box 6387
Cleveland, OH 44101-1387
United States

Anna J. Schwartz

City University of New York (CUNY) ( email )

17 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10010
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office

365 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016-4309
United States
212-817-7957 (Phone)

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