What can Big Data tell us about the passthrough of big exchange rate changes?

Working papers set out research in progress by our staff, with the aim of encouraging comments and debate.
Published on 08 January 2016

Working Paper No. 579
By John Lewis 

Using a large data set of import volumes and values for goods imports from around 50 trading partners, and 3,000 goods type, this paper finds that the micro level, passthrough is non-linear in the exchange rate. The passthrough of larger bilateral exchange rate movements (ie more than 5%) is around four times larger than that of smaller changes. However, regressions on aggregate data indicate that passthrough at the macro level is close to full. The resolution to this apparent puzzle lies in the fact that larger bilateral movements account for the vast majority of variation in the exchange rate index, and hence the non-linearity at the micro level largely disappears at the macro level.

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