What has Foreign Market Intervention Since the Plaza Agreement Accomplished?
We review the conduct and scale of official intervention by monetary authorities in the U.S.A., Japan, and West Germany since the Plaza Agreement. Relative to trading volume and the stock of internationally traded assets denominated in foreign currencies, intervention is small--scale and sporadic, hence at best limited to transitory effects. It does not appear to reduce volatility of daily exchange rates. Monetary authorities gamble that they will not suffer losses on their foreign currency holdings. Evidence in favor of sterilized foreign exchange market intervention as a way of conveying information to the private sector is far from convincing. Since changes in relative monetary growth rates are sufficient to alter bilateral exchange rates, monetary authorities can achieve their exchange rate preferences with domestic monetary policy, but at the cost of Possible distortionary effects on monetary growth rates, domestic interest rates, and international capital flows.