Foreign Exchange Responses to Macroeconomic Surprises: Playing “Peek-a-Boo” with Financial Markets

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2012-04-16

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Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between precisely timed macroeconomic “news” (or “surprises”) and the immediate currency price fluctuations that surround them. Using data from 2005-2011, I find significant movements in foreign exchange markets around a variety of announcements (unemployment, GDP, retail sales, inflation) for three different countries (United States, Australia, Canada). My results demonstrate that in the very short-run, as in the long run, the value of a country’s currency is driven by its macroeconomic fundamentals. Upon further investigation, this paper also uncovers the following financial phenomena in these foreign exchange responses to macroeconomic surprises: asymmetric response, nonlinearity, financial stress, liquidity, and exchange rate specificity. These phenomena refer to the difference in responses between: positive and negative surprises, big versus small surprises, pre-crisis versus crisis surprises, ten- versus sixty-minute returns, and two distinct reference currencies, respectively.

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Nathan, Vignesh (2012). Foreign Exchange Responses to Macroeconomic Surprises: Playing “Peek-a-Boo” with Financial Markets. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/5141.


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