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Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Economic Review
Buy foreign while you can: the cheap dollar and exchange rate pass-through
Eduardo J. J. Ganapolsky
Diego Vilan

Despite the dollar’s real depreciation in the past few years, the U.S. trade deficit has continued to increase, with the level of imports reaching record highs. Why has the cheaper dollar not made imports more expensive and exports more attractive and, in turn, reduced the trade deficit? ; This article presents evidence on the degree of exchange rate pass-through (ERPT)—the extent to which U.S. domestic import prices have moved in response to changes in the exchange rate—from December 1993 through December 2004. Using monthly data, the authors first decompose domestic import prices to their foreign price and exchange rate components and then test for the presence of ERPT in selected import categories. ; According to their analysis, ERPT elasticity has trended downward for the main import categories during the ten-year period. But at the more disaggregated levels, ERPT showed an upward trend for some items during the last months of 2004, especially for capital and consumer goods. ; The authors interpret this shift as a sign that some foreign firms may have stopped absorbing exchange rate depreciations as the falling dollar has shaved away their profit margins. To be able to survive, some foreign exporters might begin passing through exchange rate depreciations to domestic import prices, the authors conclude.

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Eduardo J. J. Ganapolsky & Diego Vilan, "Buy foreign while you can: the cheap dollar and exchange rate pass-through" , Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Economic Review, issue Q 3, pages 15-36, 2005.
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Keywords: Foreign exchange rates ; Imports - Prices
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