European Monetary Union: Progress and Prospects by M.T. Sumner, G. Zis

By M.T. Sumner, G. Zis

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EMSandEMU 21 Thus the EMS has given an exchange-rate stability which has dampened, rather than boosted, vicious circle tendencies in the inflation field. HAS STABILITY IN THE EMS PROVIDED COVER FOR THE EMERGENCE OF SUBSTANTIAL AUTOMATIC CHANGES IN REAL COMPETITIVE POSITION? HAVE THESE CHANGES BEEN DESIRABLE? With exchange rates converging more than inflation, there have been changes in real competitive position in the Community since the EMS started. By far the largest change has of course been outside the EMS, with the case of the UK pound moving 7 points in the effective exchange-rate index (trade weighted against eighteen currencies) from the first quarter of 1979 to the first quarter of 1980, but as much as 20 points when differences in wholesale price inflation are also taken into account.

With exchange rates converging more than inflation, there have been changes in real competitive position in the Community since the EMS started. By far the largest change has of course been outside the EMS, with the case of the UK pound moving 7 points in the effective exchange-rate index (trade weighted against eighteen currencies) from the first quarter of 1979 to the first quarter of 1980, but as much as 20 points when differences in wholesale price inflation are also taken into account. Few people are happy with the excessive appreciation of the UK pound.

These are bonus points for a more healthy resource allocation performance. Second, wage inflation has been more restrained. 5 per cent in 1975 at a time when real domestic income was falling. In 1980, we expect real per-capita wage compensation to rise less than 1 per cent. EMSandEMU 21 Thus the EMS has given an exchange-rate stability which has dampened, rather than boosted, vicious circle tendencies in the inflation field. HAS STABILITY IN THE EMS PROVIDED COVER FOR THE EMERGENCE OF SUBSTANTIAL AUTOMATIC CHANGES IN REAL COMPETITIVE POSITION?

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