Non-linear adjustment of import prices in the European Union

Working papers set out research in progress by our staff, with the aim of encouraging comments and debate.
Published on 31 March 2008

Working Paper No. 347
By José Manuel Campa, José M González Mínguez and María Sebastiá Barriel

This paper focuses on the non-linear adjustment of import prices in national currency to shocks in exchange rates and foreign prices measured in the exporters’ currency of products originating outside the euro area and imported into European Union countries (EU-15). The paper looks at three different types of non-linearities: (a) non-proportional adjustment (the size of the adjustment grows more than proportionally with the size of the misalignments), (b) asymmetric adjustment to cost-increasing and cost-decreasing shocks, and (c) the existence of thresholds in the size of misalignments below which no adjustment takes place. There is evidence of more than proportional adjustment towards long-run equilibrium in manufacturing industries. In these industries, the adjustment is faster the further away mcurrent import prices are from their implied long-run equilibrium. In contrast, a proportional linear adjustment cannot be rejected for some other imports (especially within agricultural and commodity imports). There is also strong evidence of asymmetry in the adjustment to long-run equilibrium. Deviations from long-run equilibrium due to exchange rate appreciations of the home currency result in a faster adjustment than those caused by a home currency depreciation. Finally, we also find that adjustment takes place in the industries in our sample only when deviations are above certain thresholds, and that these thresholds tend to be somewhat smaller for manufacturing industries than for commodities.

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