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. Key Currency

    A key currency used is money issued by stable, developed country ...
  2. Currency Board

    A currency board is a monetary authority that makes decisions ...
  3. National Currency

    A national currency is a legal tender issued by a central bank ...
  4. International Currency Markets

    The International Currency Market is a market in which participants ...
  5. Foreign Exchange Intervention

    Foreign exchange intervention is a monetary policy tool where ...
  6. Currency ETF

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

    Drastic Currency Changes: What's The Cause?

    Currency fluctuations often defy logic. Learn the trends and factors that result in these movements.
  4. Insights

    A Primer On Reserve Currencies

    For nearly a century, the U.S. dollar has served as the world's premier reserve currency, but the future is uncertain.
  5. 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.
  6. Trading

    Top Economic Factors That Depreciate the US Dollar

    A variety of factors contribute to currency depreciation, including monetary policy, inflation, demand for currency, economic growth and export prices.
  7. Trading

    Top 5 Reasons To Invest In Currencies

    Here's why you should get into the forex market.
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 often do exchange rates fluctuate?

    Learn how exchange rates fluctuate. Exchange rates float freely against one another, which means they are in constant fluctuation. ... Read Answer >>
  4. Why is the U.S. dollar shown on the top of some currency pairs and on the bottom ...

    All currencies are traded in pairs. The first currency in the pair is called the base currency while the second is called ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center