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.
Bid-ask spreads for Asian emerging market currencies increased sharply during the Asian crisis. A key question is whether such wide spreads were excessive or explained by models of bid-ask spreads. Precrisis estimates of standard models show that spreads during the crisis were in most cases tighter than spreads predicted by the models and there are few cases of excessive spreads. The result is largely explained by the substantial increase in exchange rate volatility during the crisis and to some extent by the level change. The empirical models have greater explanatory power for emerging- than for mature-market currencies.