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Measuring international competitiveness: experience from East Asia



This paper uses a new measure of real exchange rates as an indicator of international competitiveness. This new measure involves defining all prices and exchange rates on an appropriately weighted basket of currencies rather than a single currency. The measure is applied to the data for Japan, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. For comparison purposes, we calculate real exchange rates based on purchasing power parity (PPP) for these countries. To check for the relative performance of the two measures, cointegration tests are employed. The results indicate that the new measure tends to be closely related with the export growth for the sample countries, while the PPP-based measure is not. Moreover, the PPP-based real exchange rates tend to understate the measures of competitiveness for these countries. This result has important implications in terms of the levels of these countries' exchange rates as well as the well-known Balassa hypothesis.

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