Plummeting oil prices combined with asymmetric phasing of quantitative easing (QE) in the United States versus the euro area and Japan has prompted unusually large changes in major exchange rates over the past year. New estimates of fundamental equilibrium exchange rates (FEERs) find the major currencies are now misaligned, with the US dollar moderately overvalued and the euro and yen modestly undervalued. However, the Chinese yuan is no longer undervalued. Just over half of the 34 economies followed in this series experienced changes in real effective exchange rates (REERs) of about 6 percent or more from April 2014 to April 2015. The most important changes were the large effective appreciations by the US dollar (about 12 percent) and the Chinese yuan (about 12 percent), and the large effective depreciations of the euro (about 11 percent) and the yen (about 8 percent). Although the dollar has risen to about 8 percent above its FEER, it is too early to conclude that any adverse effects of the stronger dollar outweigh the benefits associated with stimulus to global growth from additional QE in the euro area and Japan. However, if the dollar were to continue along a path of further strengthening, the associated distortions could prove counterproductive for both the United States and the world economy at some point.
Data disclosure: Data are available for download for the SMIM model [xlsx] underlying this analysis, the calculation of real effective exchange rates [xlsx], and the figures and tables [xlsx] in this Policy Brief. The data underlying the interactive FEERs map are available here [xlsx].