What is a 'Managed Currency'

A managed currency is one whose price and exchange rate are influenced by some intervention from a central bank. Currency is a generally accepted form of money, including coins and paper notes, which is issued by a government and circulated within an economy. A central bank or monetary authority is a managed and often nationalized institution given free control over the production and distribution of the money and credit for a country. 

BREAKING DOWN 'Managed Currency'

Central banks manage a nation's currency through the use of monetary policies which range widely depending on their country. These economic policies usually fall into three general categories.

  1. Issuing currency and setting interest rates on loans and bonds to control growth, employment, consumer spending, and inflation
  2. Regulate member banks through capital or reserve requirements and provide loans and services for a nation’s banks and its government
  3. Behaves as an emergency lender to distressed commercial banks, and sometimes even the government by purchasing government debt obligations

Varying Types of Currency Management

Most of the world’s currencies participate to some degree in a floating currency exchange system. In a floating system, the prices of currencies move relative to one another based on external foreign exchange market forces. The global foreign exchange market, known as the forex (FX), is the largest and the most liquid financial market in the world, with average daily volumes in the trillions of dollars. The currency exchange transactions can be for the spot price, which is the current marketplace cost, or for an options forward delivery contract for future delivery. For example, when you travel to foreign countries, the amount of foreign money you can exchange your dollar for at a currency kiosk or bank will vary depending on the fluctuations taking place in this market and will be the spot price.

When currency price changes happen without any outside government influence or intervention by central banks, it is known as a clean float or a pure exchange. A clean float is a product of free economics, or laissez-faire economics, where price is determined solely by the forces of supply and demand in the world market.

Virtually no currencies genuinely fall into the clean float category. Most of the major world currencies are managed at least to some extent. Managed currencies include, but are not limited to the US dollar, the European Union euro, the British pound, and the Japanese yen. However, the degree to which nations’ central banks intervene varies.

In a fixed currency exchange the government or central bank pegs the rate to a commodity, such as gold, or another currency or a basket of currencies to keep its value within a narrow band and provide greater certainty for exporters and importers. The Chinese yuan was the last significant currency to use a fixed system. China discontinued this policy in 2005 in favor of a form of the managed currency system.

Why use Managed Currency?

Genuine floating currency exchange can experience a certain amount of volatility and uncertainty. For example, external forces beyond government control, such as the price of commodities like oil, can influence currency prices. A government will intervene to exert control over their monetary policies, stabilize their markets, and limit some of this uncertainty.

For example, a country may control its currency by allowing it to fluctuate between a set of upper and lower bounds. When the price of the money moves outside of these limits, the country’s central bank may purchase or sell currency. 

In some cases, the central bank of one government may step in to help manage the currency of a foreign power. For example, in 1994, the U.S. government bought large quantities of Mexican pesos to help boost that currency and avert an economic crisis when the Mexican peso began rapidly to lose value.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Clean Float

    A clean float, also known as a pure exchange rate, occurs when ...
  2. National Currency

    A national currency is a legal tender issued by a central bank ...
  3. International Currency Converter

    An international currency converter converts the value of one ...
  4. Currency ETF

    Currency ETFs (exchange-traded funds) aim to replicate movements ...
  5. Dual Currency Service

    A dual currency service allows investors to speculate on exchange ...
  6. Reserve Currency

    A reserve currency is held by central banks and other major financial ...
Related Articles
  1. Trading

    Currency fluctuations: How they effect the economy

    Currency fluctuations are a natural outcome of the floating exchange rate system that is the norm for most major economies. Read on for what effects these changes can have.
  2. Trading

    Forex market: Who trades currency and why

    The forex market has a lot of unique attributes that may come as a surprise for new traders. Learn more about who trades foreign currencies and why.
  3. Trading

    What causes a currency crisis?

    Find out what can cause a currency to collapse and what central banks can do to help in times of currency crisis.
  4. Investing

    Taking Advantage Of Central Bank Interventions

    These interventions provide great opportunities for investors and traders to seize entries into longer-term trends.
  5. Insights

    Understanding The Currency Board vs Central Bank

    Each is different in their own way, but which system is better: the currency board or the central bank? Find out more about these systems in this article.
  6. Insights

    How Currency Works

    Currency offers key advantages over economies based on direct trade, including a broader market for sellers' goods and services and transport ease.
  7. Insights

    Central Bank

    They print money, they control inflation, they are known as the "lender of last resort". Check out the role of Central Bank nd how its role evolved overtime.
  8. Trading

    Dual And Multiple Exchange Rates 101

    Why would a country choose to implement dual or multiple exchange rates? It's risky, but it can work.
RELATED FAQS
  1. How are international exchange rates set?

    Knowing the value of your home currency in relation to different foreign currencies helps investors to analyze investments ... Read Answer >>
  2. What are key economic factors that can cause currency depreciation in a country?

    Read about the causes of currency devaluation, and find out how to differentiate between relative and absolute currency devaluation. Read Answer >>
  3. How do central banks acquire currency reserves and how much are they required to ...

    A currency reserve is a currency that is held in large amounts by governments and other institutions as part of their foreign ... Read Answer >>
  4. How does inflation affect the exchange rate between two nations?

    Countries attempt to balance interest rates and inflation, but the interrelationship between the two is complex and can influence ... Read Answer >>
  5. How do national interest rates affect a currency's value and exchange rate?

    Generally, higher interest rates increase the value of a country's currency and lower interest rates tend to be unattractive ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center