Australian Economic Papers,
3. Dec, 2002

The real exchange rate always floats

This paper makes two main points. First, irrespective of nominal exchange rate arrangements, the real exchange rate always floats – if not through nominal exchange rate adjustment, then through price change. Further, because prices and wages tend to be sticky, the adjustment of real exchange rates towards long-run equilibrium takes time, as witnessed by long-lasting currency misalignments around the world. In second place, real exchange rates are rather likely to fluctuate on their way towards long-run equilibrium because of the dynamic interaction between real exchange rates and the current account or, put differently, because the structure of lags with which exchange rates impact the volume of exports and imports may give rise to oscillatory behavior.