Bank of Lithuania

Long-run determinants and misalignments of the real effective exchange rate in the EU


Exchange rate assessment is becoming increasingly relevant for economic surveillance in the European Union (EU). The persistence of different wage, price and productivity dynamics among the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) countries or EU members with a fixed exchange regime with the euro, coupled with the impossibility of correcting competitiveness differentials via the adjustment of nominal rates, have resulted in divergent dynamics in Real Effective Exchange Rates. This paper explores the role of economic fundamentals, included in the transfer effect theory, in explaining medium/long-run movements in the Real Effective Exchange Rates in the EU over the period 1994–2012 by using heterogeneous, co-integrated panel frameworks in static and dynamic terms. In addition, the paper provides an analysis of the misalignments of the rate for each member state based on the “equilibrium” measure calculated from the permanent component of the fundamentals (the so-called Behavioural Effective Exchange Rate).
We find that the coefficients of the determinants are extremely different across groups in magnitude and sometimes in sign as well and the transfer theory does not hold for periphery and the Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs). The relative importance of the transfer variable and the Balassa-Samuelson measure are crucial for the asymmetries. The resulting misalignments in EU28 are huge and the patterns diverge significantly across groups. The core countries have been undervalued for almost the whole period, which entails from an important increase in competitiveness for those countries. Instead the periphery has experienced high rates, especially in Portugal. In addition, the behaviour of CEECs is also driven, as expected, by the catching-up process and the criteria to the accession to the EU. The misalignments in this case are still extremely wide and reflect these phenomena.

JEL Codes: F31, C23.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Bank of Lithuania.

real effective exchange rate, behavioural effective exchange rate, European Union, transfer problem, panel co-integration, exchange rate misalignments