EXCHANGE RATE POLICIES IN LATIN AMERICA AND ASIA, A COMPARATIVE STUDY
A recurrent issue in the empirical literature that relates real exchange rate levels and growth is the relatively undervalued level of the Asian currencies when compared to Latin American and African ones for the period 1970 to 1999. In most works, higher per capita growth rates and lower currency levels emerge for Asian countries, which appears to be a regional pattern. For the Latin American and African cases, the pattern seems to be the opposite. Appreciation cycles are constantly showing up together with stop and go growth episodes. Accordingly, a central issue to understand the East and Southeast Asian success, as compared to the Latin American and African failures, could be found in the way they managed their exchange rate policies and on the evolution of their real exchange rate levels. The objective of this paper is to compare the evolution of exchange rate policies and levels in Asia and Latin America from 1970 to 1999. The work reviews some aspects of exchange rate management for some of the countries in these regions based on a survey of case studies. It also presents an evolution of real exchange rate levels against the US dollar for a set of 20 countries based on World Bank data and on an exchange rate distortion index.
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