The Aftermath of a Currency Collapse: How Different are Emerging Markets?

11 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2005

See all articles by Michael Bleaney

Michael Bleaney

University of Nottingham - School of Economics


In currency crises, unlike in orderly devaluations, the financial markets dominate events. Previous research has shown that the output effects of a crisis tend to be worse in emerging markets, and the current account adjustment greater. This paper examines the evolution of a wider range of macroeconomic variables from two years before a currency collapse to two years afterwards. On the basis of twelve recent episodes, it is shown that currency collapses (crises followed by depreciations) have had a much greater adverse impact in emerging markets (defined as relatively high-income developing countries exposed to international capital markets) than in developed countries. There is greater nominal and real depreciation, a substantial inflation shock, a much bigger output effect, and far greater import compression, whilst inflows of portfolio capital virtually cease. These differences are statistically significant. Nevertheless there is wide variation n the post-collapse experience of the six emerging markets studied (Mexico, Thailand, Korea, Indonesia, Russia and Brazil). Although all six experienced a sudden stop or even a reversal of capital flows and very sharp nominal depreciations, inflation remained low in Thailand, Korea and Brazil, and output losses were comparatively small in Russia and Brazil. Previous studies of individual crises suggest that important factors are the state of the banking system and its vulnerability to currency movements, the ability of the authorities to establish a credible macroeconomic policy after the collapse, and whether the crisis triggers significant political instability.

Suggested Citation

Bleaney, Michael, The Aftermath of a Currency Collapse: How Different are Emerging Markets?. Available at SSRN:

Michael Bleaney (Contact Author)

University of Nottingham - School of Economics ( email )

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