Consumption and Real Exchange Rates in Professional Forecasts

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Bank for International Settlements, Monetary and Economic Department, 2009 - Consumption (Economics) - 45 pages
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Standard models of international risk sharing with complete asset markets predict a positive association between relative consumption growth and real exchange-rate depreciation across countries. The striking lack of evidence for this link the consumption/real-exchange-rate anomaly or Backus-Smith puzzle - has prompted research on risk-sharing indicators with incomplete asset markets. That research generally implies that the association holds in forecasts, rather than realizations. Using professional forecasts for 28 countries for 1990-2008 we find no such association, thus deepening the puzzle. Independent evidence on the weak link between forecasts for consumption and real interest rates suggests that the presence of 'hand-to-mouth' consumers may help to resolve the anomaly.

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