The current unit focuses on exchange rates and is a more in-depth study of foreign exchange markets from the perspective of financialeconomics.You have been acquainted with balance of trade and balance of payments and variousapproaches to balance of payments. In the present unit, we get behind these theories and focus on trading of various currencies for each other. We look at foreign exchangemarkets as markets for financial assets and see who the actors in these markets are,what the mechanisms and devices for trade in these assets are, and how the pricesof these currencies are determined.
In the subsequent section we begin with a description and analysis of the workingsof foreign exchange markets. We will see that it is the biggest market for assets andround-the-clock trading takes place. In later part we explain the workings ofdifferent exchange rate regimes, particularly, fixed and flexible, but also their variants.The foreign exchange markets function under flexible exchange rate regime. We see the relative merits of the two systems and explore why many countries gave up thefixed exchange rate regime in 1973. Having explained different exchange rate regimes,we return in section 17.4 to the functioning of foreign exchange markets and explorehow exactly exchange rates (price of one currency for another) are determined in asituation of exchange rate risk, and briefly explore some strategies to deal with theserisks. Finally, we look in detail at the functioning of the exchange rate system ofIndia: how it functions, how it has changed over the years, how exchange controlswere carried out, whether total convertibility of currency is a good idea, and so on.