Central banks aim to balance economic growth with inflation and stability of financial systems. They monitor and anticipate market trends tied to monetary policies, which forex traders expect to affect currency rates.
When central banks notice economies beginning to falter, they try to maintain a steady influx of capital by intervening in forex markets. When they intervene, market prices tend to rise. Let's explore what role central banks play in the global forex market.
A Quick Overview of Central Banks
Central banks, more commonly referred to as CBs, are monetary authorities, basically responsible for managing the country's monetary policy by regulating the money supply. They are responsible for the issuance of currency, overseeing and supervising commercial banks, maintaining the stability of the country's financial and banking sector, and maintaining a system of checks and balances. CBs have a major role in determining the short-term and long-term interest rates.
CBs are either government-owned or government-controlled. For example, in the United States, their CB, the Federal Reserve System, is a privately owned institution but is subject to government supervision. In certain countries, the CB is an independent government institution, with a government official as the head.
Although central banks are considered to be part of the government, they are run independently. However, they do work with the government.
Other than their role in making decisions about monetary policy, they are also charged with the responsibility of bank supervision.
Central banks are also tasked with making sure the economy thrives and that there's an adequate supply of currency in the market.
Central Banks as Lenders
Central banks have a number of responsibilities, of which one is lending. However, they act more as a lender of last resort.
When CBs become aware of the need for liquidity in the market, they will provide funds to banks in the form of lending. CBs become aware of the need for liquidity because of their monitoring and surveillance of the economy.
The Central Banks' Role in Forex Trading
As the world becomes more and more interconnected, a number of trading platforms have been developed, offering users the convenience of being able to conduct trades at any time and from any location. Forex trading has boomed in the past decade, giving traders several opportunities to expand their portfolios and make profits.
Central banks can play a significant role in the forex market, particularly in the rates of the major currencies. Let's take a look at some of the factors that can affect the forex market.
Central Banks and Currencies
Currencies in the forex market are based on supply and demand. When a central bank intervenes, the supply of currency increases, but that also means that demand has also increased.
In terms of supply and demand, an increase in supply means that the demand has decreased. An increase in supply can be brought about by an influx of capital in the market. When central banks become aware that a particular currency is maintaining a higher demand than its supply, they will step in to balance the supply and demand of the foreign exchange market by increasing the supply of that currency.
However, what happens when the demand for one currency increases but the supply remains the same? Such instances can be brought about by a number of factors, such as an increase in production or a decrease in the amount of that currency in the market.
When a central bank becomes aware of such instances, it will step in to stabilize the market by implementing monetary policies to increase the supply of the currency.
Signs That a Central Bank Has Intervened
Forex traders can look at several signs that a central bank has intervened in the market. If a central bank has intervened, they will release a statement confirming the fact.
The market can also notice the effects of the central bank's intervention, such as a change in the rate of the currency or a change in its volume. On the other hand, if a central bank does not intervene, forex traders can also notice a shift in the currency market.
For instance, let's take a look at the UK currency, which is the pound. The pound has an intervention limit of 1.75. When the pound reaches a rate of 1.735, it is short of the intervention limit by 0.05, and a statement will be released. The statement will confirm that the Bank of England will attempt to raise the value of the pound. The statement will also confirm the amount of money that is to be used for this purpose.
Effects That Central Banks Can Have on Currency Rates
When central banks become involved in forex trading, the effects can range from positive to negative. The effects of intervention in the forex market can lead to any of these conditions:
An increase in the price of a currency
An increase in the value of a currency
A decrease in the price of a currency
A decrease in the value of a currency
When central banks step in, they do it to maintain stability. However, a sudden increase in the price of a currency can also be brought about by a number of factors, such as fluctuations in the US dollar. These factors can also affect the value of the currency, which is brought about by an increase in demand or a decrease in supply.
How Can Forex Traders Make the Most Out of Central Bank Interventions?
The forex market is an international market. While traders are free to trade in any currency they want, it is always advantageous for them to trade in their home country's currency, as that is likely to gain them more profits. In fact, a lot of traders will do so.
As such, traders will want to know what is happening in the market, especially if the market is being affected by factors that could influence the value of their currency. With that in mind, what can forex traders do to make the most out of central bank interventions?
- Forex traders can take advantage of central bank interventions by keeping an eye out for any statements that may be released. Central banks usually release statements on Fridays and during news programming. These statements may not be listed under "News" but can easily be found if you search for recent press releases.
- Forex traders should also familiarize themselves with the indicators that central banks use to monitor the market and forecast market trends. These indicators will help them determine if a central bank is likely to intervene in the market.
- Forex traders can also monitor central banks' monetary policies, which will also give them an idea of which direction the market may take.
- Forex traders should also consider using the aforementioned indicators to determine the amount of risk they are willing to take. They can also determine the number of profits they are willing to make before exiting a trade.
Limitations of Central Bank Interventions in the Forex Market
While central banks are capable of intervening in the forex market, there are also limitations to what they can do. A common limitation is that CBs cannot control market trends 100 per cent.
Another limitation involves the fact that central banks can use a limit to the amount of currency to intervene. As mentioned earlier, this is because the central bank can only print currency up to a certain amount. This can lead to a shortage of currency in the market.
Forex traders can also notice a shortage of a particular currency in the market. This can lead to a decrease in the market supply and an increase in market demand, which can also lead to a sudden increase in the currency rate.
When this happens, forex traders can attempt to take advantage of the situation by taking long positions or reduce their risk by taking short positions.
When A Central Bank Is Not Enough
Central banks can intervene in the forex market in several different ways. However, some instances may call for the intervention of other government agencies, such as government bodies that support economic development or economic bodies that oversee the management of a country's economy.
For example, although central banks can intervene to keep a country's currency stable, certain other economic factors can cause the demand for the country's currency to increase or decrease. In such instances, the national government may step in to encourage demand for a certain currency.
Interest Rate Parity in the Forex Market
Foreign exchange rates change based on the demand of each currency. When the demand for a currency increases, the supply of that currency decreases, and vice versa. Interest Rate Parity (IRP) is a common market phenomenon that financial analysts and economists use.
When IRP is in effect, it means that the interest rate of two currencies will be equal to each other. This is because the interest rate is directly linked to the demand of the currency.
The interest rate of a currency will normally be lower than that of another currency. The lower interest rate translates to the fact that investors will be more inclined to lend the currency, and the currency will, in effect, be more in demand. The supply of the currency will also be greater, making it more in demand.
Central Banks' Effect on Interest Rate Parity
Perhaps the most significant role of central banks is to control interest rates.
In a perfect market, the rates of interest should be equal in all countries at all times. If interest rates are kept the same in two different countries, the traders will always be attracted to the currency that offers the highest interest rate.
How IRP Affects Currency Traders
Interest rates are based on risk. Currency traders, for example, will have lower interest rates because they will have to take a greater degree of risk. Their job is to continually participate in trades to earn profits. They will have less time to sit on the investment, which means they will incur greater risk by participating in trades.
Interest rate parity states that the difference in interest rates between two countries should lead to exchange rate changes. Basically, this means that if one currency is expected to yield higher interest payments than the other, then its currency should appreciate in value.
This theory is often applied to the forex markets in predicting exchange rate trends. For example, suppose there is a big difference in interest rates between the US dollar and the Japanese Yen. Also, suppose that the US dollar has been appreciating in value against the Japanese Yen.
This would confirm the interest rate parity theory.
In other words, Japanese investors are likely to buy US dollars and finance the purchase through investments with higher interest payments.
Central banks do not determine the forex market's value or trends. However, they do play a major role in the market's value. They do this by intervening in the market to maintain stability. Even so, traders should also be able to take advantage of these interventions. They can do so by keeping an eye out for any market news and statements that may be released. This will help them get a better idea of what is likely to happen in the market.
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