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Revision of Nominal Effective Exchange Rate (NEER) and Real Effective Exchange Rate (REER) Indices
Date : Dec 16, 2005

The indices of Nominal Effective Exchange Rate (NEER) and Real Effective Exchange Rate (REER) are used as indicators of external competitiveness. NEER is the weighted average of bilateral nominal exchange rates of the home currency in terms of foreign currencies. Conceptually, the REER, defined as a weighted average of nominal exchange rates adjusted for relative price differential between the domestic and foreign countries, relates to the purchasing power parity (PPP) hypothesis.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been constructing five-country and thirty six-country indices of NEER and REER as part of its communication policy and to aid researchers and analysts. Theses indices are published in the Bank’s monthly Bulletin. Three major developments as set out in the following paragraphs have necessitated a review of the existing indices.

First, introduction of the Euro (notes and coins) with effect from January 1, 2002 necessitated the need to replace the existing national currencies of the Euro zone by the common currency for the members, which formed part of RBI’s 5-country and 36-country REER/NEER indices. The European Commission (Eurostat) introduced a harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP) for the member countries, which entailed individual consumer price indices to be replaced by HICP in the construction of the REER. Second, there has been a significant shift in India’s trade relations across countries/regions, mainly towards developing and emerging economies during the last decade, requiring a change in the currency basket and the weights assigned to India’s trading partners included in the REER. Third, the base year of the Wholesale Price Index of India (WPI), was changed to 1993-94, necessitating a change in the base year for 36-country REER and NEER indices.

Against the above backdrop, the Reserve Bank has now decided to replace its existing 5-country indices with new six-currency indices of NEER/REER. The thirty six-country indices have also been revised and replaced with new 36-currency indices of NEER/REER. In this regard, the RBI Press Release dated November 4, 2005 had set out the broad outline of the revision of the REER/NEER indices. As indicated in the Press Release, this is a detailed article elaborating upon the methodology adopted in the construction of the new series and the conceptual issues involved such as the coverage, the base year, prices and weights that are chosen and the rationale there-in. The time series data on the new 6-currency and 36-currency indices along with their broad trends have also been examined.

I. THE METHODOLOGY

The NEER is the weighted geometric average of the bilateral nominal exchange rates of the home currency in terms of foreign currencies. Specifically,

The REER is the weighted average of NEER adjusted by the ratio of domestic price to foreign prices. Specifically,

Where e : Exchange rate of Indian rupee against a numeraire, i.e., the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) in indexed form,

* Prepared jointly in the Division of International Finance, Department of Economic Analysis and Policy and the Department of External Investments and Operations, Reserve Bank of India.

 

As set out in the methodology, the REER has four parameters/variables pertaining to country/currency coverage (n), relative prices (P/Pi), weights (wi) and exchange rates (e/ei). The revision of REER relating to the above parameters/variables is as follows.

II. COVERAGE

The new six-currency indices represent the US, the Eurozone (comprising of 12 countries), UK, Japan, China and Hong Kong SAR. Two currencies in the existing five-country series, viz., French franc and Deutsche mark have been replaced by the Euro in the new indices. Two new currencies have been included in the new indices, both being Asian - the Chinese yuan and the Hong Kong Dollar.

The rapid growth in India’s foreign trade with China and Hong Kong in the recent years has been the underlying factor for including these two countries in the new six-currency REER. China and Hong Kong SAR together accounted for around 9 per cent of India’s foreign trade in 2004-05. China’s share in India’s foreign trade has surged from 0.2 per cent in 1991-92 to 6.1 per cent in 2004-05. The increase in India’s trade with China has been more pronounced in the last four years. The inclusion of China and Hong Kong SAR reflects an increasing recognition of the Indian economy’s rapidly growing integration with the developing and emerging Asian economies. The six countries/regions, represented by the six currencies, together accounted for around 40 per cent of India’s total foreign trade in 2004-05 as compared with a lower coverage of around 22 per cent of India’s total foreign trade in the case of the existing five-country index.

The coverage has also been revised for the 36-country REER/NEER indices. The old indices comprised 36 countries including five members of the Euro Area1 . With an objective to broad base the REER/NEER and also to highlight India’s changing trade pattern, countries have been chosen in the new series based on three broad criteria: (i) the share in India’s exports and trade, (ii) regional representation and (iii) the regular availability of data on exchange rates and prices on a monthly basis. The new countries included in the revised series are Hong Kong SAR, Denmark, Iran, Kuwait, Qatar, Russia, South Africa, Sweden and United Arab Emirates (Annex). Besides, with the inclusion of the Euro zone, the new 36-currency indices include all the twelve countries that have Euro as common currency. Thus, the revised 36-currency REER indices effectively represent 47 countries. The revised thirty-six countries/regions, represented by the thirty-six currencies, together accounted for, on an average, 77 per cent and 89 per cent of India’s total foreign trade and exports respectively during 2002-03 to 2004-05 as against a lower coverage of around 61 per cent and 66 per cent of India’s total foreign trade and exports, respectively in the existing indices.

III. PRICES

In line with the existing practice, the revised indices (both 6-currency and 36-currency) use the wholesale price index (WPI) as a proxy for Indian prices and the consumer price index (CPI) as a proxy for foreign partner countries. While CPI is more representative of the cost/ inflationary conditions in the markets to which most of India’s exports are directed, WPI reflects the producer costs. The weekly wholesale price index (WPI) for all commodities is used as an index of inflation for India in calculating six-currency REER/NEER indices. While the 6-currency index updates the WPI data every week, it is updated monthly for the 36-currency index. China provides year-on-year monthly CPI growth rates, which have been converted into indices by taking 1993-94 as the base year.

Unlike in the case of the 6-currency index, the CPI data are not readily available for few of our trading partners, which form part of the 36-currency index. Hence,

1 The Euro area was representative of five countries namely Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Netherlands.

suitable alternatives have been used. WPI is used as a proxy for prices for Australia since the CPI data are available on a quarterly basis. CPI data are not readily available for United Arab Emirates (UAE), which remains an important trading partner for India and for Quatar. Hence, CPI for the Middle East region as given in the International Financial Statistics (IFS) of IMF is used as a proxy for prices for these countries.

IV. EXCHANGE RATE

The Special Drawing Right (SDR) has been chosen as the numeraire currency in the construction of REER/ NEER indices since the exchange value of the SDR is determined by a weighted average of a basket of currencies, which would offset fluctuations in individual currencies. Moreover, from a statistical perspective, the choice of SDR as numeraire facilitates inclusion of the US, which is a major trading partner of India. The exchange rate of a currency is expressed as the number of units of numaraire (SDRs) per ith currency. A rise in ‘e’ or ‘e/ei,’ thus represents an appreciation of rupee relative to the currency i and vice versa, where e represents exchange rate of Indian rupee against the numeraire, SDR in indexed form and ei represents exchange rate of foreign currency ‘i’ against the numeraire (SDRs) in indexed form.

V. BASE YEAR

The monthly average of the REER and NEER for the base year is benchmarked to the level of 100. As against the practice of having three base years in the case of existing five-country indices, viz., 1991-92, 1993-94 and 2003-04, the last being a moving base updated every year to facilitate comparison with a more recent period, the new six-currency indices will have two base years, 1993-94 as fixed base and 2003-04 as a moving base, which would change every year as at present. As regards, the broad-based indices, the old 36-country indices were constructed with 1985 as the base period. The year 1993-94 is chosen as the base year for the revised 36-currency REER/NEER series in line with the WPI base year. In this connection, it may be mentioned that though the choice of the base year affects the level of REER/NEER for rest of the time period, the indices being geometric series, the percentage difference between any two periods remains same, whatever be the base year.

The choice of the base year 1993-94 is attributable to the significant changes in the macroeconomic environment due to structural reforms introduced in the wake of balance of payments crisis in 1990-91. India adopted a market determined exchange rate regime since April 1993. This is also supported by generally stable macroeconomic and external sector performance during that year.

VI. WEIGHTS

The existing five-country indices use fixed trade weights, which are based on the average of India’s bilateral trade (exports plus imports) with the countries in the index during the five-year period from 1992-93 to 1996-97. The new six-currency indices use a 3-year moving average trade weights in place of the present fixed trade weights with a view to suitably reflect the dynamically changing pattern of India’s foreign trade with its major trading partners. In order to calculate the weights, the geometric average of India’s bilateral trade (exports plus imports) with countries/regions represented by the six-currencies during the preceding three years has been taken. This has then been normalised to arrive at the requisite weights (wi), which are provided in Table 1.

As in case of the revised indices of the six-currency REER/NEER, the thirty six-currency indices also use 3-year moving average normalized weights (both exports and trade weights) in the construction of the new series, keeping in view the rapid change in the destinations of India’s foreign trade in contrast to the fixed weights used hitherto for constructing REER/NEER series. Table 2 gives the normalized weights for the 36-currencies for the year 2005-06, which is based on trade shares of previous three years.

Table 1: Normalised weights for 6-currency REER/NEER Indices

         

(In per cent)

             

Year

Euro

Japan

UK

USA

Hongkong

China

             

1993-94

42.06

14.01

12.04

26.33

4.55

1.01

1994-95

40.25

13.50

11.73

26.95

5.40

2.17

1995-96

39.22

13.44

11.33

26.95

6.07

2.98

1996-97

38.95

12.87

11.25

27.29

6.15

3.49

1997-98

39.28

11.76

11.55

27.46

6.03

4.20

1998-99

38.71

11.03

11.82

28.21

6.03

4.20

1999-00

37.79

10.64

11.86

28.59

6.68

4.44

2000-01

36.67

9.92

12.15

29.12

7.48

4.65

2001-02

35.88

9.30

12.06

29.08

8.02

5.67

2002-03

35.55

8.31

11.67

29.51

7.67

7.29

2003-04

35.52

7.85

10.84

28.90

7.55

9.34

2004-05

35.12

7.15

10.13

28.19

7.45

11.96

 

Table 2: 36-currency Normalised Weights for 2005-06

   

(in per cent)

Country

Trade Weight

Export Weight

     

Argentina

0.53

0.17

Australia

2.66

1.03

Bangladesh

1.40

2.61

Brazil

0.79

0.78

Canada

1.30

1.33

China

6.69

5.52

Hong Kong

4.08

5.52

Denmark

0.40

0.41

Egypt

0.47

0.63

Euro

19.37

18.38

Indonesia

2.73

1.87

Iran

1.09

1.58

Israel

1.36

1.35

Japan

3.95

3.26

Kenya

0.28

0.47

Korea

2.94

1.38

Kuwait

0.47

0.56

Malaysia

2.51

1.56

Mexico

0.33

0.51

Myanmar

0.43

0.16

Nigeria

0.55

0.95

Pakistan

0.34

0.55

Philippines

0.48

0.69

Qatar

0.35

0.24

Russia

1.45

1.18

Saudi Arabia

1.74

1.99

Singapore

3.85

3.97

South Africa

2.44

1.11

Sri Lanka

1.25

2.07

Sweden

0.81

0.36

Switzerland

3.63

0.79

Thailand

1.26

1.41

Turkey

0.55

0.92

UAE

6.43

8.70

UK

5.56

5.23

USA

15.56

20.78

     

Total

100.00

100.00

The use of bilateral trade and export weights is based on the restrictive assumption that from buyer’s point of view, the elasticity of substitution between the sources of supply is zero. The domestic producers are the only competitors of India’s export and competition from third country exporters do not exist. An ideal measure of effective exchange rate should attempt to use estimated measures of elasticities. However, data limitations normally favour the use of bilateral weights. Secondly, including China and some other East Asian countries, which are big competitors of India in the international market, in the revised currency basket has taken account of third country competition in a limited way.

VII. DATA SOURCES

For computation of 6-currency indices, the daily morning eastern market exchange rates of five currencies, except euro, are crossed with RBI reference rate for the US dollar. In the case of Euro, RBI’s reference rate is taken into account. The CPI data are taken from online information system like Bloomberg as soon as these are announced by them. Later, these CPI data are substituted, wherever possible, by the price indices available from the International Financial Statistics (IFS), International Monetary Fund, which comes with a time lag.

The basic source for data on monthly exchange rates and prices for 36 currencies is the IFS of the International Monetary Fund2 . With the IFS providing data on exchange rate and prices with a lag of at least three months, the 36-currency monthly indices have also been computed with a lag of three months. Data on India’s trade with these 36 countries/regions has been taken from Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S) and Direction of Trade Statistics of the International Monetary Fund.

VIII. THE REVISED REER/NEER SERIES

Based on the above methodology, the revised 6 currency (trade weighted) and 36-currency (both trade and export weighted) REER/NEER series have been computed. It may be noted that there is a high degree of correlation between the new 6-currency indices of NEER/ REER and the 5-country indices (Chart 1). The revised

36 currency REER/NEER series also provide a better reflection of India’s trade competitiveness (Chart 2 & 3). Despite the appreciating trend witnessed in the recent months in the REER Trade indices, both the six-currency and the 36-currency revised REER Trade indices have remained around the benchmark over long horizon during the sample period 1993-94 to 2005-06 (so far).

Table 3: Indices of Real Effective Exchange Rate (REER) and Nominal Effective Exchange Rate (NEER) of the Indian Rupee (6-Currency Trade Based Weights)

Year

Base:1993-94

Base:2003-2004

 

(April-March) =100

(April-March) =100

         
 

NEER

REER

NEER

REER

         

1993-94

100.00

100.00

143.34

101.14

         

1994-95

96.86

105.71

138.87

106.94

         

1995-96

88.45

101.14

126.81

102.31

         

1996-97

86.73

100.97

124.34

102.15

         

1997-98

87.80

104.24

125.88

105.45

         

1998-99

77.37

95.99

110.92

97.10

         

1999-00

77.04

97.52

110.44

98.66

         

2000-01

77.30

102.64

110.82

103.84

         

2001-02

75.89

102.49

108.81

103.68

         

2002-03

71.09

97.43

101.93

98.56

         

2003-04

69.75

98.85

100.00

100.00

         

2004-05 (P)

69.26

101.35

99.29

102.53

         

2005-06 (P)

       

(upto October)

71.62

106.15

102.67

107.39


The revised six and 36 currency indices on a financial year basis (average) since 1993-94 are provided in Table 3 and Table 4 respectively. On high frequency basis, monthly data on the revised 36-currency and 6-currency indices since April 1993 up to September 2005 are provided in Tables 50 and 51 of the December issue of RBI Bulletin.

Table 4: Indices of Real Effective Exchange Rate (REER) and Nominal Effective Exchange Rate (NEER) of the Indian Rupee (36-Currency Export and Trade Based Weights) (Base: 1993-94=100)

Year

Trade Based

Export Based

         
 

REER

NEER

REER

NEER

         

1993-94

100.00

100.00

100.00

100.00

         

1994-95

104.32

98.91

104.88

98.18

         

1995-96

98.19

91.54

100.10

90.94

         

1996-97

96.83

89.27

98.95

89.03

         

1997-98

100.77

92.04

103.07

91.97

         

1998-99

93.04

89.05

94.34

90.34

         

1999-00

95.99

91.02

95.28

90.42

         

2000-01

100.09

92.12

98.67

90.12

         

2001-02

100.86

91.58

98.59

89.08

         

2002-03

98.18

89.12

95.99

87.01

         

2003-04

99.56

87.14

99.07

87.89

         

2004-05 (P)

102.50

87.31

102.48

88.41

         

2005-06 (P)

       

(upto Sept.)

107.62

90.58

107.67

92.01

Annex

Countries in the old 36 country REER/NEER series

Currencies included in the new 36 currency REER/

 

NEER series

Australia

Australia

Bangladesh

Bangladesh

Brazil

Brazil

Canada

Canada

China

China

Colombia

Denmark

Egypt

Egypt

Euro (includes Belgium, France, Germany,

Euro (Includes Austria, Belgium, Finland, France,

Italy and Netherlands)

Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,

 

Netherlands, Portugal and Spain)

Guatemela

Hongkong

Indonesia

Indonesia

Israel

Iran

Japan

Israel

Kenya

Japan

Korea

Kenya

Malaysia

Korea

Myanmar

Kuwait

Mexico

Malaysia

Nigeria

Myanmar

Pakistan

Mexico

Philippines

Nigeria

Sudan

Pakistan

Saudi Arabia

Philippines

Singapore

Qatar

Srilanka

Russia

Switzerland

Saudi Arabia

Thailand

Singapore

Turkey

South Africa

UK

Sri Lanka

Uruguay

Sweden

USA

Switzerland

Yugoslavia

Thailand

 

Turkey

 

UAE

 

U K

 

U S A


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