Option Prices, Exchange Market Intervention, and the Higher Moment Expectations Channel: A User’s Guide

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A vast literature on the effects of sterilized intervention by the monetary authorities in the foreign exchange markets concludes that intervention systematically moves the spot exchange rate only if it is publicly announced, coordinated across countries, and consistent with the underlying stance of fiscal and monetary policy. Over the past 15 years, researchers have also attempted to determine if intervention has any effects on the dispersion and directionality of market views concerning the future exchange rate. These studies usually focus on the variance around the expected future exchange rate—the second moment. In this paper we demonstrate how to use over-the-counter option prices to recover the risk-neutral probability density function (PDF) for the future exchange rate. Using the yen/dollar exchange rate as an example, we calculate measures of dispersion and directionality, such as variance and skewness, from estimated PDFs to test whether intervention by the Japanese Ministry of Finance during the period 1996–2004 had any impact on the higher moments of the exchange rate. We find little or no systematic effect, consistent with the findings of the literature on the spot rate as: Japanese intervention was not publicly announced prior to August 2000, and since that time only publicly announced after the fact, over the past 10 years rarely coordinated across countries and, in hindsight, probably inconsistent with the underlying stance of monetary policy.


International Journal of Finance & Economics




Special Issue: Exchange Rate Intervention

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