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Why are exchange rates changing?
Currency graphs have been hyperactive with high jumps and low dips lately. This fluctuation is normal and is governed by supply and demand. Currency exchange involves the buying and selling of the world's monies vis-à-vis any other commodity. If the need for a particular country's currency is high, the high demand leads to a higher forex rate, and vice versa.
But the demand and supply of the world's currencies are influenced by many other factors.
Just like the demand and supply of oil is influenced by the number of vehicles on the road or the technological efficiency in the production of that oil, money has similar determinants. They range from monetary policies to politics and other factors that affect the economy.
Changing inflation rates
Inflation rates are direct indicators of the purchasing power of a country's currency. If the inflation rate is high in your country, you might need more money to buy a cup of coffee now than you did last year. If it is low, the same cup of coffee will cost surprisingly lower.
High inflation rates indicate a weakening economy, while low inflation rates denote a strengthening economy. Currency values rise when the inflation rate is lower, and the economy is stronger. They fall when inflation rises.
Different political climates
Economy and politics are tied at the hip. Bad political temperatures can lead to the weakening of a country's currency and cause it to trade for less in the forex market. That is why you find that 1 USD can be worth thousands in countries with unstable politics from Venezuela to Zimbabwe. When politics is bad, it destroys the business environment and productivity, leading to a weaker economy.
Politically sound countries, on the other hand, have an encouraging environment for investors and innovators. Their economy gets stronger, and the demand for their currencies increases. However, even politically stable countries can have rapid changes in exchange rates when nearing an election.
Changes in interest rates
Higher interest rate is another investor magnet. Let's say country A has a higher interest rate than country B. Lenders get high rates and investors are guaranteed a higher return on their investments in country A. This country will, therefore, attract more business from the outside and entrepreneurship from the inside than country B which has lower interest’s rates. The economy of country A will outperform that of country B, and it will see its currency value appreciate significantly.
Exports and imports
International trade affects the balance of trade between country A and B. It shows interest, dividend, and earnings made from the exchange of goods between those two countries. Country A would have a deficit of its buying more of country B's products.
This country would spend more currency than it receives from trading with country B. The excess demand for country B's currency drives up its value because it starts to become scarce. On the other hand, country A's currency value will start to decline because the world is oversupplied with it.
Domestic and international debt
Countries that operate on a deficit budget spend more than they make (collect in taxes). These countries often turn to internal or international borrowing to fill the gap in their finances and stimulate the economy.
However, that can lead to a massive public debt that discourages foreign investors and domestic entrepreneurs because large public debt drives up inflation and minimize returns on investment. The economy of such a country takes on a downturn. That eventuality leads to a weaker currency and a lower exchange rate.
Health risks, epidemics, and public fear
Much of the whipsawing currently happening in the Forex market is linked to the coronavirus. Health disasters like these wreak havoc to a country's economy and make it impossible to work. A lot of resources are directed towards the health issue, while other areas of the economy suffer.
Productivity is hugely impacted.
When it comes to ailments like influenza, malaria, and HIV AIDs, developed countries, have created better response strategies and lowered their infection rates. These countries boast of better economies as a result, and higher exchange rates in the Forex market.
But for a new epidemic that is affecting all parts of the world equally, exchange rates are dropping and rising based on individual country's response measures, death tolls, and progress in developing a cure vaccine.
Countless factors affect the demand and supply of a country's currency and in turn, the exchange rate. It all boils down to economic productivity and stability. Countries with stronger or strengthening economies will have a higher exchange rate (you will buy more foreign currency with their money) compared to countries with weaker or weakening economies.