CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE TOPIC 1: INTRODUCTION TO INTERNATIONAL FINANCE Learning objectives After reading this topic you should be able to: ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? Understand the background of international finance Define international finance Explain the reason for studying international finance Explain the roles of international financial manager Understand the background of multinational corporations Distinguish between international finance and domestic finance . 1 BACKGROUND TO INTERNATIONAL FINANCE International finance as a subject is not new in the area of financial management, it has been widely covered earlier in international economics and it is only the fast growth of international business in the post-world war II and the associated complexities in the international transactions that made the subject as an independent area of study.
For several centuries, international economists have used the classical economic theory of comparative advantage to explain the trade movements between nations. Looking at the writings of Adam Smith and David Ricardo in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, the theory in simple terms, states that everyone gains if each nation specializes in the production of those goods that it produces relatively most efficiently and imports those goods that other countries produces most relatively efficiently.
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The theory supported free trade arguments, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) The doctrine of comparative advantage made an initial assumption that although the products of economic activities could move internationally; the factors of production were relatively fixed in a geographical sense. Land, labor and capital were assumed internationally immobile. The fast growing of the cross-border business transactions in the second half of the last twentieth century triggered the birth of multinational corporations, which is considered the most important phenomena in the economic development in that century.
This development, which holds such potential for the economic betterment of the world’s population runs counter to the postulates of Smith and Ricardo in that, it is based on international mobility of the most important factors of production in the twentieth century. ??? Capital raised in Tanzania by a South African- based corporation may finance acquisition of machinery by a subsidiary located in Botswana. ?? [email protected] com, 0754 327487 1 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE ??? A management team from Tanzania Breweries may take over a Zimbabwe brewery complex in Malawi. If money is the language of business, foreign exchange is the language of international business. With growing operation of multinational corporations, a number of complexities arose in the area of their financial decisions. Apart from the considerations of where, when and how to invest, the decision concerning the management of working capital among their different subsidiaries and the parent units became more complex, especially because the basic policies varied from one MNC to another.
Those MNCs that were more interested in maximizing the value of global wealth adopted a centralized approach while those not interfering much with their subsidiaries believed in a decentralized approach. Normally there is a mix of the two approaches in varying proportions, for which the study of international finance has come to be more relevant. The second half of the twentieth century has also experienced a vast magnitude of lending by international and regional development banks (e. . Citi bank, Barclays, African development Bank, Standard Chartered bank etc) and different governmental and non-governmental agencies. The movement of funds in form of interest and amortization payments needed proper management. Besides, there were big changes in the character of the international financial market with the emergence of euro banks and offshore banking centers and of various instruments, such as Euro bonds, euro notes and euro commercial papers.
The nature of the movement of funds became so complex that proper management became a necessity and the study of international finance became highly of important. 1. 2 DEFINITION OF INTERNATIONAL FINANCE. International finance is the branch of economics that studies the dynamics of foreign exchange, foreign direct investment and how these affect international trade. Also studies the international projects, international investment and the international capital flow. International Finance can be broadly defined, as he study of the financial decisions taken by a multinational corporation in the area of international business i. e. global corporate finance. International finance draws much of its background from the preliminary studies in the topics of corporate finance such as capital budgeting, portfolio theory and cost of capital but now viewed in the international dimension. 1. 3 REASONS TO STUDY INTERNATIONAL FINANCE (i) To understand the global economy and its relation to: -The end of the cold war ?? [email protected] om, 0754 327487 2 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE -The emergency of growing markets among the developing countries and -The increasing globalization of the international economy The great change of recent years has been the rapid industrialization and economic growth of countries in several parts of the world, such as Asia, Latin America and Africa. Another change in the international financial environment is increased globalization- national economies are becoming steadily more integrated. ii) To understand the effect of Global Finance on business ??? Global finance has become increasingly important as it serves world trade and foreign investment. ??? Most large and many medium ???sized companies in the developed world have international business operations ??? In recent years, it has become clear that international events significantly affect companies, which do not have foreign operations. (iii) To make intelligent decisions Although most personal decisions have nothing to do with international finance jobs, they all require significant knowledge of international finance to make intelligent decisions. . 4 CLASSIFICATION OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS OPERATIONS The international business firms are broadly divided into three categories: (a) International Firm The traditional activity of an international firm involves importing and exporting. Goods are produced in the domestic market and then exported to foreign buyers. Financial management problems of this basic international trade activity focus on the payment process between the foreign buyer (seller) and domestic seller (buyer). b) Multinational firm As international business expands, the firm needs to be closer to the consumer, closer to cheaper sources of inputs, or closer to other producers of the same product gain from their activities. It needs to produce abroad as well as sell abroad. As the domestic firm expands its operations across borders, incorporating activities in other countries, it is classified as a multinational. ?? [email protected] com, 0754 327487 3 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE Hence Multinational Corporation is a company engaged in producing and selling goods or services in more than one country.
It ordinarily consists of a parent company located in the home country and at least five or six foreign subsidiaries, typically with a high degree of strategic interaction among the units. (c) Transnational Firm As the multinational firm expands its branches, affiliates, subsidiaries, and network of suppliers, consumers, distributors and all others, which fall under the firm umbrella of activities, the once traditional home country becomes less and less well defined. Firms like Unilever, Phillips, Ford, and Sonny have become intricate network with home offices defined differently for products, processes, capitalization and even taxation. . 5 PROBLEMS FACING MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS Companies operating in several countries have greater control problems that those operating in only one because of the significantly increased complexity. One problem that is immediately evident is language, but there are difficulties especially related to organization, planning and control systems and performance measurements. Therefore, we examine the problems in the three given classifications above. (a) Organization ??? Most large organizations adopt a form of divisionalization or decentralization.
Multinational operation adds in a further dimension that needs to be addressed. Operating units can be organized either within countries or across them. ??? The balance of local control and central direction must be made. The management culture and quality in each country must be taken into account in determining the level of the autonomy allowed. ??? The determination of the structure of operating unit needs to reflect the requirement for efficiency and also be tailored to the particular national environment. Factors such as legislation and taxation will impose differing demands from country to country. One common bugbear of international operation is the determinations of transfer prices for inter company trade. Several problems arise; tax planning, performance evaluation, goal congruence and currency fluctuations must all be factored into the method adopted. ??? International operation will require adoption of an accounting system that satisfies the local and head office financial reporting standards. This can sometimes require maintaining two sets of books in each country, one for local reporting and other for consolidation into the group accounts. ?? [email protected] om, 0754 327487 4 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE (b) Planning ??? Planning the operations of the company will be complicated by the need to consider the needs of the whole group as well as the particular circumstances country by country. The exercise may produce conflicting demands that could cause tensions within the group. ??? Central management will need to have a full understanding of the situation in several countries. The planning process will require gathering and assimilating information from all the company’s locations, which may be a complicated exercise. Any plans set by local management must be reviewed by for congruence with the company’s overall aims. As with any decentralized operation with a degree of divisional autonomy there is potential for conflict between the aims of local and central management. 1. 6 FUNCTIONS OF FINANCIAL MANAGER. In a world which change is the rule and not the exception, the key to international competitiveness is the ability of management to adjust to change and volatility at an ever-faster rate. Financial management is traditionally separated into two basic functions: the acquisition of funds and the investment of these funds.
The first function, also known as the financing decision, involves generating funds from internal sources or from sources external to the firm at the lowest long-run cost possible. The investment decision is concerned with the allocation of funds over time in such a way that shareholder wealth is maximized. Therefore the main functions of the financial manager are: making financing decisions and investing decisions and eventually returning the funds to the providers of such funds (shareholders) on international perspective. 1. INTERNATIONAL FINANCE VERSUS DOMESTIC FINANCE International finance is to a great extent, similar to domestic corporate finance. A domestic company takes up a project for investment only when the net present value of cash flows is positive and it shapes the working capital policy in a way that maximizes profitability and ensures desired liquidity. It is not different in case of MNCs. Again, the financing decisions, in respect of whether a domestic or an international company, aim at minimizing the overall cost of capital and providing optimum liquidity.
Domestic financial management is concerned with the costs of financing sources and the payoffs from investment. In domestic arena, movements in exchange rates are substantially ignored. But when we move outside of this purely domestic field, there is no way that we can analyze international financing and investment opportunities without an understanding of the impact of foreign exchange rates upon the basic model of financial management. ?? [email protected] com, 0754 327487 5 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE
We still concerned with raising funds at minimum cost, but there is clearly a complication of analyzing if United Republic of Tanzania-based Company is raising funds by way of a Swiss franc borrowing. We are still concerned with investment opportunities chosen to create maximum shareholder value, but what if the income and cash flow of our URT-based company’s investment arise from South Africa in Rands or, from Mexico in pesos. Moreover, what if exchange controls place barriers on remittances of some proportion of profit.
However, international finance has a wider scope than domestic corporate finance and it is designed to cope with greater range of complexities than the domestic finance. The reasons are as follows:(a) The MNCs operate in different economic, political, legal, cultural and tax environments (b) They operate across and within varied ranges of product and factor markets which vary in regard to competition and efficiency. (c) They trade in a large number of currencies as a result of which their dependence on the foreign exchange market is quite substantial. d) They have easy access not only to varying domestic capital markets but also to unregulated international capital markets which differ in terms of efficiency and competitiveness. The greater the degree of involvement of the firm in the international economic environment or the greater the degree of differences among different segments of the international economic environment, the greater are the complexities. Basically, when MNCs make international investments, they also need to consider the political relations between the host government and home government.
The capital budgeting technique also considers the intra-firm flows. A domestic firm does need not have to bother with these complexities. Moreover, working capital management for an MNC is more complex because it involves cash movement and movement of raw materials and finished goods from one political and tax jurisdiction to another. Obviously multinational finance possesses a dimension that makes it far more complicated than domestic financial management. Indeed, multinational finance is a complex area of study compared to domestic finance.
REVIEW QUESTIONS 1. Name some of the complexities of international finance compared to domestic finance. 2. How has the growth in international trade and multinational corporations been responsible for growing importance of the study of international finance? 3. Discuss the nature and scope of international financial management. 4. Critically distinguish between international finance and domestic finance ?? [email protected] com, 0754 327487 6 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE TOPIC 2: THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY SYSTEM (IMS) 2. : AN OVERVIEW OF THE EVOLUTION OF MODERN INTERNATIONAL MONETARY SYSTEM MNCs operate in a global market, buying/selling/producing in many different countries. For example, GM sells cars in 150 countries, produces cars in 50 countries, so it has to deal with hundreds of currencies. The international monetary system which prevails today has evolved over a period of more than 150 years. In the process of evolution, several monetary systems came into existence, which either collapsed due to their inherent weakness or were modified to cope with the changing international economic order.
International Monetary System – Institutional framework within which: 1. International payments are made 2. Movements of capital are accommodated 3. Ex-rates are determined An international monetary system is required to facilitate international trade, business, travel, investment, foreign aid, etc. For domestic economy, we would study Money and Banking to understand the domestic institutional framework of money, monetary policy, central banking, commercial banking, check-clearing, etc. To understand the flow of international capital/currency we study the IMS.
IMS – complex system of international arrangements, rules, institutions, policies in regard to ex-rates, international payments, capital flows. IMS has evolved over time as international trade, finance, and business have changed, as technology has improved, as political dynamics change, etc. Example: evolution of the European Union and the Euro currency impacts the IMS. Simply, the international monetary system refers primarily to the set of policies, institutions, practices, regulations and mechanisms that determine the rate at which one currency is exchanged for another. 2. 1. : BIMETALLISM (pre-1875) Commodity money system using both silver and gold (precious metals) for int’l payments (and for domestic currency). Why silver and gold? (Intrinsic Value, Portable, Recognizable, Homogenous/Divisible, Durable/Non-perishable). Why two metals and not one (silver standard or gold standard vs. bimetallism)? Some countries’ currencies in certain periods were on either the gold standard (British pound) or the silver standard (German DM) and some on a bimetallic (French franc). Pound/Franc exchange rate was determined by the gold content of the two currencies.
Franc/DM was determined by the silver content of the two currencies. Pound (gold) / DM (silver) rate was determined by their exchange rates against the Franc. ?? [email protected] com, 0754 327487 7 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE Under a bimetallic standard (or any time when more than one type of currency is acceptable for payment), countries would experience “Gresham’s Law” which is when “bad” money drives out “good” money. The more desirable, superior form of money is hoarded and withdrawn from circulation, and people use the inferior or bad money to make payments.
The bad money circulates, the good money is hoarded. Under a bimetallic standard the silver/gold ratio was fixed at a legal rate. When the market rate for silver/gold differed substantially from the legal rate, one metal would be overvalued and one would be undervalued. People would circulate the undervalued (bad) money and hoard the overvalued (good) money. Examples: a) From 1837-1860 the legal silver/gold ratio was 16/1 and the market ratio was 15. 5/1. One oz of gold would trade for 15. 5 oz. of silver in the market, but one oz of gold would trade for 16 oz of silver at the legal/official rate.
Gold was overvalued at the legal rate, silver was undervalued. Gold circulated and silver was hoarded (or not minted into coins), putting the US on what was effectively a gold standard. b) Later on, France went from a bimetallic standard to effectively a gold standard after the discovery of gold in US and Australia in the 1800s. The fixed legal ratio was out of line with the true market rate. Gold became more abundant, lowering its scarcity/value, silver became more valuable. Only gold circulated as a medium of exchange. 2. 1. 2: THE CLASSICAL GOLD STANDARD (1875-WWI).
For about 40 years most of the world was on an international gold standard, ended with First World War (WWI) when most countries went off gold standard. London was the financial center of the world, most advanced economy with the most international trade. Classical Gold Standard is a monetary system in which a country’s government allows its currency unit to be freely converted into fixed amounts of gold and vice versa. The exchange rate under the gold standard monetary system is determined by the economic difference for an ounce of gold between two currencies.
The gold standard was mainly used from 1875 to 1914 and also during the interwar years. Gold Standard exists when most countries: 1. Use gold coins as the primary medium of exchange. 2. Have a fixed ex-rate between ounce of gold and currency. 3. Allow unrestricted gold flows – gold can be exported/imported freely. 4. Banknotes had to be backed with gold to assure full convertibility to gold. 5. Domestic money stock had to rise and fall with gold flows The creation of the gold standard monetary system in 1875 marks one of the most important events in the history of the foreign exchange market.
Before the gold standard was implemented, ?? [email protected] com, 0754 327487 8 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE countries would commonly use gold and silver as means of international payment as explained earlier. The main issue with using gold and silver for payment is that their value is affected by external supply and demand. For example, the discovery of a new gold mine would drive gold prices down. The underlying idea behind the gold standard was that governments guaranteed the conversion of currency into a specific amount of gold, and vice versa.
In other words, a currency would be backed by gold. Obviously, governments needed a fairly substantial gold reserve in order to meet the demand for exchanges. During the late nineteenth century, all of the major economic countries had defined an amount of currency to an ounce of gold. Over time, the difference in price of an ounce of gold between two currencies became the exchange rate for those two currencies. The use of the gold standard would mark the first use of formalized exchange rates in history.
However, the system was flawed because countries needed to hold large gold reserves in order to keep up with the volatile nature of supply and demand for currency. Under a gold standard, exchange rates would be kept in line by cross-country gold flows. Any mis-alignment of ex-rates would be corrected by gold flows. Payments could in effect be made by either gold or banknotes. If market exchange rates ever deviated from the official ex-rate, it would be cheaper to pay in gold than in banknotes.
The gold standard eventually broke down during the beginning of World War I. Due to the political tension with Germany; the major European powers felt a need to complete large military projects. The financial burden of these projects was so substantial that there was not enough gold at the time to exchange for all the excess currency that the governments were printing-off. Although the gold standard would make a small comeback during the inter-war years, most countries had dropped it again by the onset of World War II.
However, gold never ceased being the ultimate form of monetary value. Advantages of Gold Standard 1. Ultimate hedge against inflation. Because of its fixed supply, gold standard creates price level stability, eliminates abuse by central bank/hyperinflation. 2. Automatic adjustment in Balance of Payments due to price-specie-flow mechanism Disadvantages of Gold Standard 1. Possible deflationary pressure. With a fixed supply of gold (fixed money supply), output growth would lead to deflation. 2.
An international gold standard has no commitment mechanism, or enforcement mechanism, to keep countries on the gold standard if they decide to abandon gold. ?? [email protected] com, 0754 327487 9 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE INTERWAR PERIOD: 1915-1944 When WWI started, countries abandoned the gold standard, suspended redemption of banknotes for gold, and imposed embargoes on gold exports (no gold could leave the country). After the war, hyperinflationary finance followed in many countries such as Germany, Austria, Hungary, Poland, etc.
Price level increased in Germany by 1 trillion times!! Why hyperinflation then? What are the costs of inflation?? US (1919), UK(1925), Switzerland, France returned to the gold standard during the 1920s. However, most central banks engaged in a process called “sterilization” where they would counteract and neutralize the price-specie-flow adjustment mechanism. Central banks would match inflows of gold with reductions in the domestic MS, and outflows of gold with increases in MS, so that the domestic price level wouldn’t change. Adjustment mechanism would not be allowed to work.
If the US had a trade surplus, there would be a gold inflow which should have increased US prices, making US less competitive. Sterilization would involve contractionary monetary policy to offset the gold inflow. In the 1930s, what was left of the gold standard faded – countries started abandoning the gold standard, mostly because of the Great Depression, bank failures, stock market crashes. Started in US, spread to the rest of the world. Also, escalating protectionism (trade wars) brought int’l trade to a standstill. (Smoot-Hawley Act in 1930), slowing int’l gold flows.
US went off gold in 1933, France lasted until 1936. Between WWI and WWII, the gold standard never really worked, it never received the full commitment of countries. Also, it was period of political instability, the Great Depressions, etc. So there really was no stable, coherent IMS, with adverse effects on int’l trade, finance and investment. 2. 1. 3: The Bretton Woods System 1944 ??? 1971 After World War II, a modified version of the gold standard monetary system, the Bretton Woods monetary system, was created as its successor.
This successor system was initially successful, but because it also depended heavily on gold reserves, it was abandoned in 1971 when U. S president Nixon “closed the gold window Before the end of World War II, the Allied nations believed that there would be a need to set up a monetary system in order to fill the void that was left behind when the gold standard system was abandoned. In July 1944, more than 700 representatives from the Allies convened at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to deliberate over what would be called the Bretton Woods System of international monetary management. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank were created as part of a comprehensive plan to start a new IMS. The IMF was to supervise the rules and policies of a new fixed exchange rate regime, promote foreign trade and ?? [email protected] com, 0754 327487 10 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE to maintain the monetary stability of countries and therefore that of the global economy; the World Bank was responsible for financing development projects for developing countries (power plants, roads, infrastructure investments).
It was agreed that currencies would once again be fixed, or pegged, but this time to the U. S. dollar, which in turn was pegged to gold at USD 35/ounce. What this meant was that the value of a currency was directly linked with the value of the U. S. dollar. So if you needed to buy Japanese yen, the value of the yen would be expressed in U. S. dollars, whose value in turn was determined in the value of gold. If a country needed to readjust the value of its currency, it could approach the IMF to adjust the pegged value of its currency.
The peg was maintained until 1971, when the U. S. dollar could no longer hold the value of the pegged rate of USD 35/ounce of gold. From then on, major governments adopted a floating system, and all attempts to move back to a global peg were eventually abandoned in 1985. Since then, no major economies have gone back to a peg, and the use of gold as a peg has been completely abandoned. To simplify, Bretton Woods led to the formation of the following: ??? A method of fixed exchange rates; ??? The U. S. ollar replacing the gold standard to become a primary reserve currency; and ??? The creation of three international agencies to oversee economic activity: the International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) The main features of the system were: One of the main features of Bretton Woods is that the U. S. dollar replaced gold as the main standard of convertibility for the world’s currencies; and furthermore, the U. S. dollar became the only currency that would be backed by gold. This turned out to be the primary reason that Bretton Woods eventually failed. ) (i) A system of fixed exchange rates on the adjustable peg system was established. Exchange rates were fixed against gold but since there were fixed dollars of gold (35 per ounce) the fixed rates were expressed relative to the dollar. Between 1949 and 1967 sterling was pegged at 2. 80. Governments were obliged to intervene in foreign exchange markets to keep the actual rate within 1% of the pegged rate. (ii) Governments were permitted by IMF rules to alter he pegged rate ??? in effect to devalue or revalue the currency but only if the country was experiencing a balance of payments deficit/surplus of a fundamental nature. (iii) The dollar became the principal international reserve asset. Only the USA undertook to convert their currency into gold if required. In the 1950’s the held the largest gold stocks in the world. Thus the dollar became “as good as gold” and countries were willing to use the dollar as ?? [email protected] com, 0754 327487 11 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE their principal. Initially the Bretton Woods system appeared to work well.
World trade grew at record rates in the 1950’s and the world experienced what has since been described as the “golden age of capitalism”. However in 1971 the system collapsed, clearly there were problems that had developed over the previous two decades. Why Peg? The reasons to peg a currency are linked to stability. Especially in today’s developing nations, a country may decide to peg its currency to create a stable atmosphere for foreign investment. With a peg the investor will always know what his/her investment value is, and therefore will not have to worry about daily fluctuations.
A pegged currency can also help to lower inflation rates and generate demand, which results from greater confidence in the stability of the currency. Fixed regimes, however, can often lead to severe financial crises since a peg is difficult to maintain in the long run. This was seen in the Mexican (1995), Asian and Russian (1997) financial crises: an attempt to maintain a high value of the local currency to the peg resulted in the currencies eventually becoming overvalued. This meant that the governments could no longer meet the demands to convert the local currency into the foreign currency at the pegged rate.
With speculation and panic, investors scrambled to get out their money and convert it into foreign currency before the local currency was devalued against the peg; foreign reserve supplies eventually became depleted. In Mexico’s case, the government was forced to devalue the peso by 30%. In Thailand, the government eventually had to allow the currency to float, and by the end of 1997, the bhat had lost its value by 50% as the market’s demand and supply readjusted the value of the local currency. Countries with pegs are often associated with having unsophisticated capital markets and weak regulating institutions.
The peg is therefore there to help create stability in such an environment. It takes a stronger system as well as a mature market to maintain a float. When a country is forced to devalue its currency, it is also required to proceed with some form of economic reform, like implementing greater transparency, in an effort to strengthen its financial institutions. Some governments may choose to have a “floating,” or “crawling” peg, whereby the government reassesses the value of the peg periodically and then changes the peg rate accordingly. Usually the change is devaluation, but one that is controlled so that market panic is avoided.
This method is often used in the transition from a peg to a floating regime, and it allows the government to “save face” by not being forced to devalue in an uncontrollable crisis Although the peg has worked in creating global trade and monetary stability, it was used only at a time when all the major economies were a part of it. And while a floating regime is not without its flaws, it has proven to be a more efficient means of determining the long-term value of a currency and creating equilibrium in the international market ?? [email protected] com, 0754 327487 12 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE
The collapse of the Bretton woods system: Over the next 25 or so years, the U. S. had to run a series of balance of payment deficits in order to be the world’s reserved currency. By the early 1970s, U. S. gold reserves were so depleted that the U. S. treasury did not have enough gold to cover all the U. S. dollars that foreign central banks had in reserve. Finally, on August 15, 1971, U. S. President Richard Nixon closed the gold window, and the U. S. announced to the world that it would no longer exchange gold for the U. S. dollars that were held in foreign reserves.
This event marked the end of Bretton Woods and most countries moved to some system of floating exchange rates. What caused the collapse of the system? (a) The system relied on period revaluations/devaluations to ensure that exchange rates did not move too far out of line with underlining competitive. However countries were reluctant to alter their pegged exchange rates. ??? Surplus countries were under no pressure to revalue since the accumulation of foreign exchange reserves posed no real economic problems. ??? Deficit countries regarded devaluation as an indicator of the failure of economic policy.
The UK resisted devaluation until 1967 ??? long after it had become dearly necessary. Thus the deficit countries were forced into deflationary policy to protect overvalued exchange rates. As Inflation rates accelerated and diverged the problem became more serious and countries became less willing to accept the deflationary price of a fixed exchange rate system. (b) The system became vulnerable to speculation since speculation was a “one way bet”. A deficit country might devalue or not. Thus pressure grew on deficit countries especially as capital flows in creased with the development of the Eurocurrency markets. c) The system had an inherent flaw. The system had adopted the dollar as the principal reserve currency. As world trade expanded more dollars would be needed to provide sufficient internationally liquid assets to finance that trade. A steady supply of dollars to the world required that the USA ran a balance of payment deficit and financed it by exporting dollars. But eventually the world held move dollars than the value of the USA’s holdings of gold. The ability to convert dollars into gold was called in doubt. Thus confidence in the dollar declined.
With the collapse of Bretton woods, most countries moved to floating exchange rates of one sort or another. This was not so much a positive choice by governments as recognition of the inability to maintain the previous system. Attempts were made to restore a fixed rate system but these failed. ?? [email protected] com, 0754 327487 13 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE It was soon recognized that a return to fixed exchange rates not likely in the immediate future and steps were taken to formalize the new system, the most important outcome of which was an agreement that:Countries could fix currencies against any measure except gold. Floating exchange rates were accepted and IMF members were only required to maintain “orderly exchange arrangements and” stable systems of exchange rates. G ??? 7 Council The governments of the five major industrial economies met in the USA in 1985 to consider the implications of what was considered to be the serious over valuation of the US. It was considered that such major misalignments of currencies were damaging to the growth of International trade. The result was an exercise in international policy Co ??? Ordination. All five countries agreed to undertake policies to engineer a steady fall in the exchange value of the dollar.
This was broadly successful. Following the apparent success of this co ??? operation the G ??? 7 groups of countries (USA, German, Japan, France, UK, Canada and Italy) attempted to go further. Having considered that exchange rates were now “about right: the G 7 group agreed to maintain management of their exchange rates in order to generate stability in exchange rates. This involved: a. Intervention in the foreign exchange markets to prevent serious short-term fluctuations in the exchange rate. This was to be done on a large scale and in a co ??? ordinate fashion. . Co ??? ordination overall fiscal and monetary policy in order to produce long-term stability in exchange rates. The level of interest rates and the control of inflation would be central to this and to short-term management of the exchange rate. The European Monetary System After the collapse of the Bretton woods systems, several European countries started to move towards a system in which there was increasing stability between their national currencies, even though there might still be volatility in their exchange rates with currencies of non ??? member states.
This objective was eventually incorporated into the European monetary system (EMS) of the European Union. The EMS was established in 1979. As part of this system, there was an exchange rate mechanism for achieving stability in the exchange rates of member currencies, by restricting exchange rate movements within certain limits or “bands” ?? [email protected] com, 0754 327487 14 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE The objectives of the EMS were: ??? Exchange rate stability:- Members agreed to stabilize exchange rates within the narrow bands of the exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM).
The main features of the ERM were: 1. Each country had a central rate in the system expressed in terms of a composite currency, the European currency unit (ECU) 2. Currencies were only allowed to fluctuate within specified bands 3. Within these there were narrower limits, measured in ECU and acting as trigged for policy action by governments to limit further exchange rate movement. ??? To promote convergence ??? in economic performance in member states especially in terms of inflation rates, interest rates and public borrowing. This is seen as necessary step in the move to a single currency. A long-term aim of achieving a single European currency as part of a wider economic and monetary Union. The first stage was to establish the ECU. This was the central currency of the EMS and was a composite currency whose value was determined by a weighted basket of European currencies. Use of the ECU was largely restricted to official transactions. The central feature of the EMS the operation of the exchange rate mechanism and the experience of the UK illustrates the difficulties of achieving exchange rate stability within Europe. THE EURO The EU’s new single currency, the euro, was duly launched on 1st January 1999. 1 of the 15 EU countries agreed to participate and Greece subsequently joined as a 12th member. Three countries (Denmark, Sweden and the UK) decided not to join. The euro and the national currencies existed side-by-side for all countries in the euro-zone. Exchange rates for each national currency were irrevocably locked in terms of euros. The existing national currencies (such as the French franc and Dutch mark) continued in circulation until 1st January 2002, when they were replaced by euro notes and coins. The eurozone is comparable in size to the US and the euro has become one of the world’s major currencies. [email protected] com, 0754 327487 15 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE Main Advantages of Euro (???): 1. Significant reduction in transaction costs for consumers, businesses, governments, etc. (estimated to be . 4% of European GDP, about $50B! ) European Saying: If you travel through all 15 countries and exchange money in each country but don’t spend it, you end up with 1/2 of the original amount! 2. Elimination of currency risk, which will save companies hedging costs. 3. Promote corporate restructuring via M&A activity (mergers and acquisitions), encourage optimal business location decisions.
Main Disadvantage of Euro: Loss of control over domestic monetary policy and exchange rate determination. Suppose that the Finnish economy is not well-diversified, and is dependent on exports of paper/pulp products, it might be prone to “asymmetric shocks” to its economy. If there is a sudden drop in world paper/pulp prices, the Finnish economy could go into recession, unemployment could increase. If independent, Finland could use monetary stimulus to lower interest rates and lower the value of its currency, to stimulate the domestic economy and increase exports.
As part of EU, Finland no longer has those options, it is under the EU Central Bank, which will probably not adjust policy for the Eurozone to accommodate Finland’s recession. Finland may have a prolonged recession. There are also limits to the degree of fiscal stimulus through tax cuts, since budget deficits cannot exceed 3% of GDP, a requirement to maintain membership in EMU (to discourage irresponsible fiscal behavior). The European Central bank (ECB) The ECB began operations in May 1998 as the single body with the power to issue currency, draft monetary policy and set interest rates in the euro-zone.
It is based in Frankfurt and it is a sole issuer of the euro. Strategic implications of Economic and Monetary Union and the euro For the member countries, Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) has created a single currency, the euro, with a single interest rate and single monetary policy. The benefits of EMU membership have included:??? The elimination of foreign exchange risk from dealings in the form national currencies of the euro-zone countries ??? Larger and more competitive capital markets ??? Greater transparency of competition within the euro-zone. ?? [email protected] com, 0754 327487 16
CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE 2. 1. 4: EXCHANGE RATE REGIME It is generally accepted that in the larger term, exchange rates are affected by differences in rates of inflation and rates of interest. In addition, exchange rates can be subject to management by the central government or central Bank. Certainly, a government should have a policy towards its exchange rate, even if it is just a policy of begging neglect “(which means letting the currency find its value through market forces of supply and demand in the foreign exchange markets)” There are various exchange rate systems that countries might adopt.
The two broad alternatives are: – 1. Fixed exchange rate system 2. Floating exchange systems. Fixed Exchange Rate Systems: Under a fixed exchange rate system the government and the monetary authorities would have to operate in the foreign exchange market to ensure that the market rate of exchange is kept at its fixed (par) rate. However, under this system, there are distinctions as to the form in which reserves are held and the degree of fixity in the exchange rate: A government (through central banks) would have to maintain official reserves.
The reserves are required for: ??? Financing any current account deficit (fall in reserve) or surplus (rise in reserves) that occur. ??? Intervening in the foreign exchange market to maintain the par value of the currency. The currency would be bought with reserves if the exchange rate fell and sold in exchange for reserves when the exchange rate rose. The reserves may take different forms: 1. Gold, as under the gold standard system that operated prior to 1914. 2. Dollars, as under the Breton woods system 1945 ??? 1971 3. A basket of major currencies.
No exchange rate system is truly fixed for all time. The issue is the degree of fixity: ?? [email protected] com, 0754 327487 17 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE ??? Under the gold standard system it was held that, for all practical purposes, the rates of exchange were fixed. ??? Under the Breton woods system, exchange rates were fixed within narrow limits but with the possibility of occasional changes of the par value (an adjustment peg system). A fixed exchange rate system has a variety of advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages (i) It provides stability in the foreign exchange markets and certainty about the future course of exchange rate and it eliminates risks caused by uncertainty, hence encouraging international trade. (ii) Creates conditions for smooth flow international capital. Simply because it ensures a certain return on the foreign investment. (iii) It eliminates the possibility of speculation, where by it removes the dangers of speculative activities in the foreign exchange market. iv) Reduces the possibility of competitive depreciation of currencies, as it happened during the 1930. Disadvantages (i) The absence of flexibility in exchange rates means that balance of Payments (BOP) deficits on current account will not be automatically corrected; smile deficits cannot be financed forever (because reserves are limited). Governments would have to use deflationary policies to depress the demand for imports. This is likely to cause unemployment and slow down the growth of output in the country. (ii) Fixed exchange rates place, constraints of government policy.
They must not allow the country’s inflation rate to exceed that of its trading partner’s smile this would cause current account deficits on the pressure on the balance of payments and lead to down ward pressure on the exchange rate. This constraint is known as policy discipline. Floating Exchange Rate Systems Unlike the fixed rate, a floating exchange rate is determined by the private market through supply and demand. A floating rate is often termed “self-correcting”, as any differences in supply and demand will automatically be corrected in the market.
Take a look at this simplified model: if demand for a currency is low, its value will decrease, thus making imported goods more expensive and thus stimulating demand for local goods and services. This in turn will generate more jobs, and hence an auto-correction would occur in the market. A floating exchange rate is constantly changing. ?? [email protected] com, 0754 327487 18 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE Under a system of floating exchange rate the government has no obligation to maintain the rate of exchange at some declared level and leaves its determination to market forces (demand & supply).
However there degree to which governments will allow market forces to determine the rate of exchange for their currency (i) Free Floating Exchange Rate. Under this system, governments leave the deterring of the exchange rate entirely to the market forces. No official intervention in the foreign exchange markets and hence no need of keeping any official reserves. In practice it is unlikely that governments would have no interest in the rate of exchange, for large changes in the rate have important domestic Implications especially for economies with large trade ratios, e. g. USA, UK etc. 1.
Currency appreciation reduces international competitiveness and has employment and output implications. 2. Currency depreciation raises import prices and has Implication for the rate of inflation Thus a system of managed floating is more likely to be adopted by the government than one of genuine free floating. (ii) Managed Floating Not surprisingly, few countries have been able to resist for long the temptation to actively intervene the foreign exchange in order to reduce the economic uncertainty associated with a clean float. Too abrupt change in the value of its currency, it is feared, ould imperil a nation’s export industries (if the currency appreciate) or lead to higher rate of inflation (if the currency depreciates). Exchange rate uncertainty reduces economic efficiency by acting as a tax on trade and foreign investment. Therefore, most countries with floating currencies attempt, via central banks intervention, to smooth out exchange rate fluctuations. Under managed floating, governments allow markets to determine day to day movements in the exchange rates but may intervene to prevent very large changes. This system of managed float is also known as a dirty float.
Two approaches to managed floating are possible. ??? Governments may allow the rate of exchange to fluctuate between very large bands (which are often not publicly stated) but intervene if the currency looks like moving outside of these bounds. ??? Governments may allow the market to determine the trend, in the exchange rate but intervene to limit fluctuation around the trend. ?? [email protected] com, 0754 327487 19 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE Advantage of floating/flexible exchange rate system (i) (ii) (iii) Flexible exchange rate system provides larger degree of autonomy in respect of domestic economic policies.
For, under flexible exchange rate system, it is not obligatory for the countries to tune their domestic economic policies to the fixed exchange rate. It is self-adjusting and therefore, it does not devolve on the government to maintain an adequate foreign exchange reserve. It serves as a barometer of the actual purchasing power and strength of a currency in the foreign exchange market. It serves as a useful parameter in the formulation of the domestic economic policies The adoption of a floating exchange rate system has important implications: – a) Since there is greater movement of international trade either because of the risk itself or because of minimizing its cost of the exchange rate, there is the possibility of currency risk. This might lead to a lower volume sequences. The lower volume of trade implies a reduced level of economic welfare. (b) Under floating exchange rate systems balance of payments deficits/surpluses are, in principle, automatically corrected by movements in the exchange rate. For example, a deficit leads to fall in the exchange rate; this improves completeness and corrects the deficit.
Thus, there is no need for government to hold foreign reserves to finance payment disequilibrium (c) Since the balance of payments is self-correcting, this removes constraints on government policy making. Governments can choose any combination of employment/Inflation they choose because the balance of payments Implication of their choice is atomically corrected. In effect, floating exchange rates remove the policy discipline imposed by fixed rates. In reality, no currency is wholly fixed or floating. In a fixed regime, market pressures can also influence changes in the exchange rate.
Sometimes, when a local currency does reflect its true value against its pegged currency, a “black market” which is more reflective of actual supply and demand may develop. A central bank will often then be forced to revalue or devalue the official rate so that the rate is in line with the unofficial one, thereby halting the activity of the black market. In a floating regime, the central bank may also intervene when it is necessary to ensure stability and to avoid inflation; however, it is less often that the central bank of a floating regime will interfere. [email protected] com, 0754 327487 20 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE 2. 1. 5: Current Exchange System After the Bretton Woods system broke down, the world finally accepted the use of floating foreign exchange rates during the Jamaica agreement of 1976. This meant that the use of the gold standard would be permanently abolished. However, this is not to say that governments adopted a pure free-floating exchange rate system. Most governments employ one of the following three exchange rate systems that are still used today: 1.
Dollarization; 2. Pegged rate; and 3. Managed floating rate Dollarization This occurs when a country decides not to issue its own currency and adopts a foreign currency as its national currency. Although dollarization usually enables a country to be seen as a more stable place for investment, the drawback is that the country’s central bank can no longer print money or make any sort of monetary policy. An example of dollarization is El Salvador’s use of the U. S. dollar, recently decision of Zimbabwe to use South African Rand ( SAR).
Pegged Rates Pegging occurs when one country directly fixes its exchange rate to a foreign currency so that the country will have somewhat more stability than a normal float. More specifically, pegging allows a country’s currency to be exchanged at a fixed rate with a single or a specific basket of foreign currencies. The currency will only fluctuate when the pegged currencies change. For example, China pegged its Yuan to the U. S. dollar at a rate of 8. 28 Yuan to US$1, between 1997 and July 21, 2005.
The downside to pegging would be that a currency’s value is at the mercy of the pegged currency’s economic situation. For example, if the U. S. dollar appreciates substantially against all other currencies, the Yuan would also appreciate, which may not be what the Chinese central bank wants. Managed Floating Rates This type of system is created when a currency’s exchange rate is allowed to freely change in value subject to the market forces of supply and demand. However, the government or central bank may intervene to stabilize extreme fluctuations in exchange rates.
For example, if a country’s currency is depreciating far beyond an acceptable level, the government can raise short-term interest rates. Raising rates should cause the currency to appreciate slightly; but understand that this is a very simplified example. Central banks typically employ a number of tools to manage currency. As it has already been explained previously under floating systems ?? [email protected] com, 0754 327487 21 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE TOPIC 3: THE ECONOMICS OF THE FOREIGN EXCHANGE MARKET
Learning Objectives After reading this topic you should be able to: ??? Define foreign exchange market ??? Understand the geographical extent of the foreign exchange market ??? Understand the organization of foreign exchange market ??? Explain the three main functions performed by the foreign exchange market ??? Identify the main participants of foreign exchange market ??? Understand the exchange rate mechanism and difference types of markets within the foreign exchange market ??? Identify the types of transactions, including spot, forward and swap transactions ??? Understand different methods of stating exchange rates, quotations, and changes in exchange rate. 1. BACKGROUND TO FOREIGN EXCHANGE What Is an Exchange Rate? An exchange rate is the rate at which one currency can be exchanged for another. In other words, it is the value of another country’s currency compared to that of your own. If you are traveling to another country, you need to “buy” the local currency. Just like the price of any asset, the exchange rate is the price at which you can buy that currency. If you are traveling to Egypt, for example, and the exchange rate for USD 1. 00 is EGP 5. 50, this means that for every U. S. dollar, you can buy five and a half Egyptian pounds.
Theoretically, identical assets should sell at the same price in different countries, because the exchange rate must maintain the inherent value of one currency against the other. Foreign exchange (forex or FX for short) is one of the most exciting, fast-paced markets around the world. Until recently, trading in the forex market had been the domain of large financial institutions, corporations, central banks, hedge funds and extremely wealthy individuals. The emergence of the Internet has changed all of this, and now it is possible for average investors to buy and sell currencies easily with the click of a mouse. The foreign exchange market is the “place” where currencies are traded. Currencies are mportant to most people around the world, whether they realize it or not, because currencies need to be exchanged in order to conduct foreign trade and business ?? [email protected] com, 0754 327487 22 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE As you know, money is anything that is accepted as a medium of exchange. In most of the world, people accept pieces of paper imprinted with pictures of national heroes or local wonders of nature as money. But in each nation, they accept different pieces of paper This means that if someone in the United States wants to buy something from someone in, say, Tanzania, he/she must first exchange his/her local currency???dollars???for the currency accepted in Tanzania ???shillings. This currency conversion occurs at an exchange rate market.
The exchange rate???the price of one nation’s currency in terms of another nation’s???is a central concept in international finance. Virtually any nation’s currency can be converted into the currency of any other nation, thanks to exchange rates and the foreign exchange market. For instance, let’s say the current exchange rate between the U. S. dollar and the Tanzanian shillings is $1 to 1000 sh. This means that $1 will buy 1000 shs and that 1000 shs will buy $1. (I am ignoring transaction costs, such as the commission charged by the bank or foreign exchange broker who does the currency conversion. ) Importers and exporters need foreign currency in order to complete transactions.
Banks and brokers maintain inventories of foreign exchange, that is, various currencies, and convert currencies as a service to customers. Traders and speculators make (or lose) money on the movement of foreign exchange rates (which I’ll describe later). As you will see, central banks also play a role in the foreign exchange market. Foreign exchange means the money of a foreign country that is foreign currency bank balances, bank notes, cheques and drafts. A foreign exchange transaction is an agreement between a buyer and seller that a fixed amount of one currency is delivered at a specified rate for some other currency. 2. GEOGRAPHICAL EXTENT OF FOREIGN EXCHANGE MARKET
Geographically the foreign exchange market spans the globe, with prices moving and currencies traded somewhere every hour of every business day. Major world trading starts each morning in Sidney and Tokyo, moves to Hong Kong and Singapore, passes on to Bahrain, shifts to the main European markets of Frankfurt, Zurich and London, jumps the Atlantic to New York, goes west to Chicago and ends up in Francisco and Los Angeles. The market is deepest, or most liquid, early in the European afternoon, when the market of both Europe and the US east cost are open. This period is regarded as the best time to ensure the smooth execution of a very order. ?? [email protected] com, 0754 327487 23 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE 3. ORGANIZATION OF THE FOREIGN MARKET
If there were a single international currency, there would be no need for a foreign exchange market. The foreign exchange market is not a physical place; rather it is electronically linked networks of banks, foreign exchange brokers and dealers whose main function is to bring together buyers and sellers of foreign exchange. It is not confined to any one country but is dispersed through out the leading financial centers of the world: London, New York city, Paris, Zurich, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Toronto, Milan, Frankfurt and other cities. Trading is generally done by telephone or telex machine. Foreign exchange traders in each bank usually operate out of a separate foreign exchange trading room.
Each trader has several telephones and surrounded by display monitors and telex and fax machines feeding up-to- the minute information. The forex market provides plenty of opportunity for investors. However, in order to be successful, a currency trader has to understand the basics behind currency movements. 4. FUNCTIONS OF THE FOREIGN EXCHANGE MARKET The main functions of foreign exchange market are: ??? Transfer of purchasing power ??? Provision of credit ??? Minimization of foreign exchange risk. 4. 1 TRANSFER OF PURCHASING POWER Transfer of purchasing power is necessary because international trade and capital transactions normally involves parties living in countries with different national currencies.
Each part usually wants to deal in its own currency, but the trade or capital transaction can be invoiced in only one single currency. If a Japanese exporter sells Toyota automobiles to a Tanzanian importer, the Japanese seller could invoice the Tanzanian buyer in Japanese yen, Tanzanian shilling or any convenient third ??? country currency, such as USD. The currency will be agreed as part of the deal. If the transaction is in yen, the Tanzanian importer must buy yen with Tshs. If the transaction is in Tshs, the Japanese exporter must sell the Tshs received fro yen ?? [email protected] com, 0754 327487 24 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE
If US dollars are used, the Tanzanian importer must exchange Tshs fro dollars, and the Japanese exporter must then exchange dollars for yen. 4. 2 PROVISION OF CREDIT Because the movement of goods between countries takes time, inventory in transit must be financed. In the case of Toyota sale, some part must finance the automobiles while they are being shipped to Tanzania and also when they are floored with Toyota dealers in Tanzania before final sale to a customer. The elapsed time might be anywhere from a few weeks to six months, depending on how cars are shipped. 4. 3 MINIMIZATION OF FOREIGN EXCHANGE RISK Neither the Tanzanian importer nor the Japanese exporter may wish to carry the risk of exchange rate fluctuation.
Each may prefer to earn a normal business profit on the automobile transaction without exposure to an unexpected change in anticipated profit because exchange rates suddenly change. The foreign exchange market provides “hedging” facilities for transferring foreign exchange risk to someone else. These facilities are explained a later topic. 5. PARTICIPANTS IN THE FOREIGN EXCHANGE MARKET Unlike the equity market – where investors often only trade with institutional investors (such as mutual funds) or other individual investors – there are additional participants that trade on the forex market for entirely different reasons than those on the equity market.
Therefore, it is important to identify and understand the functions and motivations of the main players of the forex market. The major participants in the in the foreign exchange market are the large commercial banks, foreign exchange brokers in interbank market, commercial customers (e. g. speculators, arbitragers, hedgers etc), primary multinational corporations and central banks, which intervene in the market from time to time to smooth exchange rate fluctuations or to maintain target exchange rates. Central bank intervention involving buying or selling in the market is often indistinguishable from the foreign exchange dealings of commercial banks or of other private participants.
A large fraction of the interbank transactions in United States is conducted through foreign exchange brokers, specialists in matching net supplier and demander banks. Commercial and central bank customers buy and sell foreign exchange through their banks. How ever most small banks and local offices of major banks do not deal directly in the interbank market. ?? [email protected] com, 0754 327487 25 CPA REVIEWS NOTES- INTERNATIONAL FINANCE Governments and Central Banks Arguably, some of the most influential participants involved with currency exchange are the central banks and federal governments. In most countries, the central bank is an extension of the government and conducts its policy in tandem with the government.
However, some governments feel that a more independent central bank would be more effective in balancing the goals of curbing inflation and keeping interest rates low, which tends to increase economic growth. Regardless of the degree of independence that a central bank possesses, government representatives typically have regular consultations with central bank representatives to discuss monetary policy. Thus, central banks and governments are usually on the same page when it comes to monetary policy. Central banks are often involved in manipulating reserve volumes in order to meet certain economic goals. For example, ever since pegging its currency (the Yuan) to the U. S. dollar, China has been buying up millions of dollars worth of U. S. treasury bills in order to keep the Yuan at its target exchange rate.
Central banks use the foreign exchange market to adjust their reserve volumes. With extremely deep pockets, they yield significant influence on the currency markets. Banks and Other Financial Institutions In addition to central banks and governments, some of the largest participants involved with forex transactions are banks. Most individuals who need foreign currency for small-scale transactions deal