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The foreign exchange regime in a small open economy: Armenia and beyond

Aleksandr Gevorkyan

Journal of Economic Studies, 2017, vol. 44, issue 5, 781-800

Abstract: Purpose - Offering an example of a small open developing economy, the purpose of this paper is to explore the reasons for relative stability in Armenia’s foreign exchange market. Relying on a single currency and derived cross-currency exchange rates, the paper models short-term effects between exchange market pressure and financial and macroeconomic factors. Design/methodology/approach - Following a literature review, the paper sets the macroeconomic context with an initial variance comparison of standard currency pairs and derived cross-currency exchange rates. Then, the core analysis is carried out with a vector error correction model, focusing on short-term cross-dynamics in monthly data. The orthogonal impulse response function analyses help solidify and further inform relevant conclusions. Findings - Three broad factors influence Armenia’s foreign exchange market: external push factors; domestic banking sector competition, and foreign currency risk perceptions; and domestic macroeconomic and dual, cross-pair, exchange rate target priorities. The central bank’s implicit management of the foreign exchange market’s expectations, pull factor, is consistent with trader market power’s contribution to lower volatility. Yet, the risk of financial and real-sector decoupling remains. Originality/value - The results are relevant for emerging markets attempting to leverage the global liquidity and low interest rates, while being exposed to external pressures in the post-crisis environment, in which international reserves may be scarce while currency stability is an implied priority. This study can be further adapted to a more comprehensive structural short-term analysis of currency determination or similar dynamics in other small open economies.

Keywords: Emerging markets; VECM; Dual-currency targets; Exchange market pressure; Foreign exchange constraint; Post-socialist transition; E58; F31; P33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.1108/JES-08-2016-0155

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