PurposeRecent turbulence in global financial markets implies that emerging economies are likely to soon enter a new era with greater pressure for currency depreciation and capital outflows. This will likely bring challenges, including macroeconomic instability and inflationary pressures due to potential rapid depreciation. In this context, certain key questions about emerging economies have become focal points of discussion in political and academic spheres: what are the effects of exchange rate depreciation on economic activity? Does exchange rate depreciation create inflationary pressure? Finding answers to these questions is critical for policymakers and financial market participants. As such, the purpose of this paper is to shed light on these questions and thus provides guidance on mitigating the negative impacts of shocks in four fast-growing emerging economies.Design/methodology/approachThe authors use a vector autoregression model with sign restrictions to examine the dynamic effects of exchange rate movements on fundamental macroeconomic indicators for four fast-growing countries, namely, Brazil, Turkey, Russia, and South Africa. Following Berument et al. (2012a), Ncube and Ndou (2013), Bjørnland and Halvorsen (2013), and An et al. (2014), the authors adopt the sign restriction methodology to identify exchange rate shocks alongside other macroeconomic shocks (monetary policy and productivity shocks) leading to exchange rate fluctuations.FindingsThe results show that exchange rate depreciation typically generates a deep recession and high inflation while improving the trade balance in the four emerging economies. This indicates that depreciation has strong “stagflationary” effects, which are transmitted to the macroeconomy primarily via supply-side channels, especially through the cost of import. Furthermore, the authors find that monetary policy reacts immediately to a domestic currency depreciation in all four emerging countries.Practical implicationsThe results imply that these countries’ monetary policies are not and cannot be neutral to exchange rate shocks. However, in these import-dependent countries, monetary tightening (i.e. rate hikes in response to an exchange rate shock) plays a limited role in mitigating the negative effects of depreciation on inflation and economic activity due to the presence of a dominant supply-side channel. In this framework, policymakers should pay greater attention to structural reforms that aim to reduce import dependency. These reforms may increase the effectiveness of domestic monetary policy in mitigating the negative effects of external shocks.Originality/valueThis paper provides a useful perspective for policymakers designing economic interventions to mitigate the adverse effects of exchange rate depreciation and to those who borrow or lend in domestic or international financial markets.
Journal of Economic Studies – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 10, 2016
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