Exchange rates during financial crises

1 March 2010

Exchange rate movements during the global financial crisis of 2007-09 were unusual. Unlike in two previous episodes - the Asian crisis of 1997-98 and the crisis following the Russian debt default in 1998 - in 2008 a large number of currencies depreciated sharply even though they were not at the centre of the crisis. Moreover, during 2009, the crisis-related movements reversed strongly for a number of countries. Two factors likely have contributed to these developments. First, during the latest crisis, safe haven  effects went against the typical pattern of crisis-related flows. Second, interest rate differentials explain more of the crisis-related exchange rate movements in 2008-09 than in the past. This probably reflects structural changes in the determinants of exchange rate dynamics such as the increased role of carry-trade activity.

JEL classification: F3, G01