asset-value theory

asset-value theory (of exchange rate determination)

an explanation of the volatility of EXCHANGE-RATE movements under a FLOATING EXCHANGE-RATE SYSTEM. Whereas the PURCHASING-POWER PARITY THEORY suggests that SPECULATION is consistent with the achievement of BALANCE-OF-PAYMENTS EQUILIBRIUM, the asset-value theory emphasizes that, in all probability, it will not be. In this theory, the exchange rate is an asset price, the relative price at which the stock of money, bills and bonds and other financial assets of a country will be willingly held by foreign and domestic asset holders. An actual alteration in the exchange rate or a change in expectations about future rates can cause asset holders to alter their portfolios. The resultant change in demand for holdings of foreign currency relative to domestic currency assets can at times produce sharp fluctuations in exchange rates. In particular, uncertainty about future market rates and the unwillingness of banks and other large financial participants in the foreign-exchange markets to take substantial positions in certain currencies, especially SOFT CURRENCIES, may diminish funds for stabilizing speculation that would in turn diminish or avoid erratic exchange-rate movements.

If this should prove the case, then financial asset-switching is likely to reinforce and magnify exchange-rate movements initiated by current account transactions (i.e. changes in imports and exports), and in consequence may produce exchange rates that are inconsistent with effective overall balance-of-payments equilibrium in the longer run.