DEFINITION of 'Linked Exchange Rate System'

A system of managing a nation's currency and exchange rate by linking the national currency to another base currency that is held at a fixed ratio in deposit at domestic banks.

Once the exchange rate is set, there is typically no interference from the government or through monetary policy decisions that will affect the exchange rate. Currency is only issued when there are reserves in the linked currency to back it up. If the exchange rate begins to shift from the fixed ratio, currency is immediately added to or taken out of circulation to bring the ratio back into balance.

BREAKING DOWN 'Linked Exchange Rate System'

This is different from simply pegging one currency to another; in a linked exchange rate system, currency can only be issued when confirmed reserves in the linked currency are held at local banking institutions. In Hong Kong, for example, this means that every Hong Kong dollar that is floating around in the economy is backed by several U.S. dollars held in reserve.

The advantage of this system is that it stabilizes the currency and keeps inflation ultra low. On the downside, the nation using it can't leverage advantages in trading with foreign partners, and can't implement monetary policy to adapt to shifts in the domestic economy.

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