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.
This paper describes the methods used by the Research Department to construct the indicators of price competitiveness, or real effective exchange rates, published for 17 industrial countries in International Financial Statistics. The weighting scheme used to construct these indicators is derived from a disaggregated system of demand equations encompassing trade relations in bilateral and third-country markets. Other commonly used trade-weighting schemes are shown to be special cases of the more general and less restrictive competitiveness weights. Differences in the measurement of relative price changes using indices based on other weights are explained by the greater informational content of the competitiveness weights.