Alternatives to Currency Manipulation: What Switzerland, Singapore, and Hong Kong Can Do

Policy Brief
June 2014

Economists have long decried the efforts of large, advanced economies to manipulate their currencies to boost net exports at their trading partners' expense. But the International Monetary Fund appears to have ignored the beggar-thy-neighbor exchange rate policies of countries with developed, highly open economies. This Policy Brief examines Switzerland, Singapore, and Hong Kong, which have actively kept the value of their currencies low since the 2008–09 global recession. In each case, greater fiscal and especially domestic monetary ease would have achieved similar macroeconomic outcomes with less currency intervention and declining current account surpluses. If such countries had adopted these strategies to increase domestic demand, the global economy would have rebounded faster.

Data disclosure: The data underlying this analysis are available in quarterly [xlsx] and annual [xlsx] form.