Inflation, interest and exchange rates in the transition1
Domenico Mario Nuti
The Economics of Transition, 1996, vol. 4, issue 1, 137-158
Central and Eastern European economies have made extraordinary progress in their trade and exchange regimes. Surprisingly, instant convertibility was established for a great variety of exchange rate regimes. In spite of diversity, all these countries have followed a common pattern: severe initial undervaluation ‐ the cost of speed and unrestricted trade ‐ followed by rapid real revaluation and incipient protectionism. Since 1994 in many cases an embarrass de richesse has appeared: high capital inflows which are either inflationary or costly to sterilize. A major cause of these flows ‐ or at any rate of the high cost of sterilization ‐ is the presence of significant interest rate differentials higher than required to cover the risk of devaluation. These are the necessary consequence of a policy of positive real interest rates and of real revaluation from excessively undervalued exchange rates. Lower interest rates are recommended, both to stem financial capital inflows and to reduce the cost of their sterilization.
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