Staff working papers in the International Finance and Discussion Papers (IFDP) series are primarily materials produced by staff in the Division of International Finance. These topics are focused on, though by no means limited to, international macroeconomics, international trade, global finance, financial institutions, and markets, as well as international capital flows.

IFDP 2024-1391
Exchange Rate Disconnect and the Trade Balance


We propose a model with costly international financial intermediation that links exchange rate movements to shifts in the demand for domestically produced goods relative to the demand for imported goods (trade rebalancing). Our model is consistent with stylized facts of exchange rate dynamics, including those related to the trade balance, which is typically overlooked in the literature on exchange rate determination. In a quantitative assessment, trade rebalancing explains nearly 50 percent of exchange rate fluctuations over the business cycle, whereas exogenous deviations from the uncovered interest rate parity—the primary source of exchange rate fluctuations in the literature—account for just above 20 percent. Using data on trade flows or the trade balance is key to properly identifying the determinants of the exchange rate. Thus, our model overcomes the sharp dichotomy between the real exchange rate and the macroeconomy embedded in other models of exchange rate determination.

Keywords: Exchange Rates, Risk Sharing, Financial Intermediation, Trade Balance


IFDP 2024-1390
Corporate Bond Issuance Over Financial Stress Episodes: A Global Perspective

Valentina Bruno, Michele Dathan, Yuriy Kitsul


We use a merged global data set of security-level corporate bond issuance and firm-level financial statement data to show that, in contrast to earlier periods of financial stress, during the COVID pandemic nonfinancial firms around the world were more likely to issue bonds, driven by a boom in local-currency-denominated issuance. We observe a distinct cross-regional difference in the characteristics of issuing firms, finding that in advanced economies issuance during COVID was driven by less risky firms, as predicted by existing theories; in emerging markets, only issuance of U.S. dollar denominated bonds came from larger or less risky firms.

Keywords: COVID, corporate bonds, crises, issuance


IFDP 2024-1389
Tariff Rate Uncertainty and the Structure of Supply Chains

Sebastian Heise, Justin R. Pierce, Georg Schaur, and Peter K. Schott


We show that reducing the probability of a trade war promotes long-term importer-exporter relationships that ensure provision of high-quality inputs via incentive premia. Empirically, we introduce a method for distinguishing between these long-term relationships--which the literature has termed "Japanese" due to their introduction by Japanese firms--from spot-market relationships in customs data. We show that the use of "Japanese" relationships varies intuitively across trading partners and products and find that the use of such relationships increases after a reduction in the possibility of a trade war. Extending the standard general equilibrium trade model to encompass potential trade wars and relational contracts, we estimate that eliminating "Japanese" procurement reduces welfare about a third as much as moving to autarky.

Keywords: Supply chain, Uncertainty, Trade war, Procurement


IFDP 2024-1388
Inequality and Asset Prices during Sudden Stops


This paper studies the cross-sectional dimension of Fisher’s debt-deflation mechanism that triggers Sudden Stop crises. Analyzing microdata from Mexico, we show that this dimension has macroeconomic implications that operate via opposing effects. We propose a small open economy, asset-pricing model with heterogeneous-agents and aggregate risk to measure the effects of inequality during crises. In contrast to a representative-agent model, heterogeneity generates persistent current account reversals with smaller drops in asset prices and larger drops in consumption driven by the leveraged households. Moreover, in a lower inequality calibration, we find that crises are less severe, as observed in the data.

Keywords: Inequality, Sudden Stops, Debt-deflation, Asset-pricing, Household leverage


IFDP 2024-1387
Demand for U.S Banknotes at Home and Abroad: A Post-Covid Update


In principle, physical currency should be disappearing: payments are increasingly electronic, with new technologies emerging rapidly, and governments increasingly restrict large-denomination notes as a way to reduce crime and tax evasion. Nonetheless, demand for U.S. banknotes continues to grow, and consistently increases at times of crisis both within and outside the United States because dollar banknotes remain a desirable store of value and medium of exchange when local currency or bank deposits are inferior. Most recently, the COVID crisis resulted in historic increases in currency demand. After allowing for the effect of crises, U.S. banknote demand appears to be driven by the usual factors determining money demand, with no discernible downward trend.

In this work, I review developments in demand for U.S. currency over the past few decades with a focus on developments since early 2020. In addition, I revisit the question of international demand: I present the raw data available for measuring international banknote flows and updates on indirect methods of estimating the stock of currency held abroad. These methods continue to indicate that a large share of U.S. currency is held abroad, especially in the $100 denomination.

As shown earlier (Judson 2012, 2017), once a country or region begins using dollars, subsequent crises result in additional inflows: the dominant sources of international demand over recent decades are the countries and regions that were already heavy dollar users in the early to mid-1990s. While international demand for U.S. currency eased during the early 2000s as financial conditions improved, the abrupt return to strong international demand that began with the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 has not slowed and reached new heights over 2020 and 2021. In contrast, however, the growth rate of demand for smaller denominations is slowing, perhaps indicating the first signs of declining domestic cash demand.

Keywords: Currency, Banknotes, Dollarization, Crisis


IFDP 2024-1386
On the GDP Effects of Severe Physical Hazards

Martin Bodenstein and Mikaël Scaramucci


We assess the impacts from physical hazards (or severe weather events) on economic activity in a panel of 98 countries using local projection methods. Proxying the strength of an event by the monetary damages it caused, we find severe weather events to reduce the level of GDP. For most events in the EM-DAT data set the effects are small. The largest events in our sample (above the 90th percentile of damages) bring down the level of GDP by 0.5 percent for several years without recovery to trend. Smaller events (below the 90th percentile) see a less immediate decrease in initial years (0.1 percent) that progressively widens to become similar to the effect of larger disasters after 10 years. Climatological hazards (droughts and forest fires) appear to have the largest effects. These findings are robust across country groupings by development and alternative measures of the strength of the physical hazard.

Keywords: Climate-related risk, GDP growth, Natural hazards and disasters, Rare disasters, Vulnerability to climate impacts


Disclaimer: The economic research that is linked from this page represents the views of the authors and does not indicate concurrence either by other members of the Board's staff or by the Board of Governors. The economic research and their conclusions are often preliminary and are circulated to stimulate discussion and critical comment.

The Board values having a staff that conducts research on a wide range of economic topics and that explores a diverse array of perspectives on those topics. The resulting conversations in academia, the economic policy community, and the broader public are important to sharpening our collective thinking.

ISSN 2767-4509 (Online)

ISSN 1073-2500 (Print)

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Last Update: May 25, 2023