The Dollar - Mark axis

BIS Working Papers No 74
August 1999
Over the last two decades, most European currencies have tended to weaken against the mark as the latter strengthened against the dollar. Moreover, the strength of the response of European cross-rates has tended to remain in the same order over time. I first set out the stylised facts of this phenomenon, referred to as the dollar-mark axis, and then try to identify its determinants. In addition to exchange rate policy, I examine the correlation of cyclical fluctuations and trade links (two factors suggested by the theory of optimum currency areas) and the bias of international investors in the currency composition of their portfolios.