Exchange rate volatility and the role of regional currency linkages: the ASEAN case
As the economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have moved towards closer economic ties and trade integration in recent years, the establishment of exchange rate stability is becoming an important regional policy concern, particularly in the wake of the Asian currency crisis of 1997. This paper examines the exchange rate volatility of the currencies of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand between 1974 and 1999. Using variance decomposition (VDC) methods and impulse response functions, which are VAR-related estimation techniques, the study also investigates the regional currency linkages which may have played a role in transmitting exchange rate fluctuations. The results indicate that, in spite of the adoption of the crawling peg exchange regime following the breakup of the Bretton Woods system, all of the five ASEAN currencies experienced volatility, with the Indonesian rupiah posting the highest volatility level. The switch to de facto pegging against the US dollar in the mid-1980s helped to stabilize all ASEAN currencies with the exception of the Malaysian ringgit. Each of the five currencies became more susceptible to instabilities in other ASEAN currencies in the post-1985 period. Consistent with the experience of the Asian currency crisis, the Thai baht was the main channel through which regional currency fluctuations were transmitted.
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