Munich Personal RePEc Archive

An Over-the-Counter Approach to the FOREX Market

Geromichalos, Athanasios and Jung, Kuk Mo (2015): An Over-the-Counter Approach to the FOREX Market.

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Abstract

The FOREX market is an over-the-counter market (in fact, the largest in the world) characterized by bilateral trade, intermediation, and significant bid-ask spreads. The existing international macroeconomics literature has failed to account for these stylized facts largely due to the fact that it models the FOREX as a standard Walrasian market, therefore overlooking some important institutional details of this market. In this paper, we build on recent developments in monetary theory and finance to construct a dynamic general equilibrium model of intermediation in the FOREX market. A key concept in our approach is that immediate trade between ultimate buyers and sellers of foreign currencies is obstructed by search frictions (e.g., due to geographic dispersion). We use our framework to compute standard measures of FOREX market liquidity, such as bid-ask spreads and trade volume, and to study how these measures are affected both by macroeconomic fundamentals and the FOREX market microstructure. We also show that the FOREX market microstructure critically affects the volume of international trade and, consequently, welfare. Hence, our paper highlights that modeling the FOREX as a frictionless Walrasian market is not without loss of generality.

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