Recent Developments in International Currency Derivatives Market: Implications for Poland
Lucjan T. Orlowski
Sacred Heart University - John F. Welch College of Business
THE EMERGENCE AND EVOLUTION OF MARKETS, Brzezinski, Horstand, Michael, Fritsch, eds., E. Elgar, Chapter 12, 1997
This paper examines currency derivatives that have emerged in international financial markets over the past two years, emphasizing the departures of spot exchange rate movements from the macroeconomic fundamentals among the "triad" currencies: the U.S. Dollar (USD), the German Mark (DM), and the Japanese Yen (YE). Sensitivity of exchange rates to key macroeconomic variables (differentials in interest rates, income and inflation) is tested for the "triad" currencies in two periods: 1991-1993 and 1994-1995. In the latter period, some considerable misalignments between forward rates and changes in spot exchange rates are observed. This is contrary to the historical evidence of the validity of the so-called "unbiased forward rate hypothesis" claiming that forward rates are the best predictor of adjustments of spot rates (Levich, 1976). It is argued that the recently observed failure of the relationship between forward rates and lagged spot rates has contributed to significant losses of investors and speculators in international currency derivative markets.
The examination of these relationships and the recent empirical developments provides useful lessons for the transition economies of Central and Eastern Europe in their attempts to construct viable modern financial markets. This study limits the scope of recommendations for developing financial markets to the conditions of Poland. It assumes that currency-based derivative transactions may play a pivotal role in reducing systemic risk of external trade and financial contracts in the Polish economy presently undergoing considerable structural adjustments aimed at promoting export and net capital inflows. It further argues that an introduction of financial derivatives in Poland shall be preceded by a construction of sound underlying security markets. A stable currency accompanied by low inflation is necessary prerequisites for a successful functioning of currency-based derivatives.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 24
JEL Classification: F31, P20
Date posted: February 14, 2005