The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
We analyze in this paper how the mutual dependence of private sector expectations in different countries on one another influences the stability of fixed exchange rate regimes. The crisis probabilities of countries trading with one another are interdependent because wage setters react to an imminent loss of international competitiveness stemming from an increase in the crisis probability of a trading partner. If a currency crisis in one country is perceived to be increasingly likely, the probability of devaluation of its trading partners’ currencies to restore their international competitiveness rises as well. Thus, not only actual devaluations but also an increasing crisis probability may trigger currency crises elsewhere. We show that not only fundamental weaknesses but also spontaneous shifts in market sentiment may play a role in precipitating currency crises.