The equilibrium exchange rates of European currencies and the transition to euro
The introduction of the euro raised two questions: what was the appropriate exchange rate of the European currencies for entry in the EMU? What were the main determinants of the external value of the euro? To bring some insight in the matter, the concept of equilibrium exchange rates was used, which illustrated the divergence between exchange rates and long run fundamentals. For each country, the equilibrium exchange rate was calculated from a simplified model of external trade which, in its reduced form, allows one to explicitly represent the structural determinants of exchange rates. To obtain supplementary results we also make an analysis of unit cost levels. The results suggest that although the central parities in force within the EMS were rather satisfactory and ought not to give rise subsequently to intra-European tensions, the European currencies were overvalued in terms of their equilibrium exchange rates and the dollar was undervalued. This misalignment thus provides support to justify the depreciation of the euro since its launch.