Die gegenwärtigen Währungsoptionen

Nach der asiatischen Finanzkrise und ihren weltweiten Auswirkungen - darunter der Zusammenbruch der festen Wechselkurse in Russland und Brasilien - entfachte eine heftige Debatte darüber, wie die makro-ökonomische Stabilität zu sichern sei. Die Alternativen lassen sich, so scheint es, in Systemen zusammenfassen, in denen entweder der Wechselkurs streng festgelegt wird und als Anker dient oder die Wechselkurse frei floaten können, wobei die Zentralbank eine niedrige Inflationsrate vorausplant und alles unternimmt, um diese Vorgabe zu erreichen.

Feste Wechselkurse waren sehr beliebt im harten Kampf gegen die Inflation, der die letzten zwei Jahrzehnte in vielen aufstrebenden Märkten, insbesondere in Lateinamerika, prägte. Diese Anker waren erfolgreich bei der Eindämmung der Inflation und sogar bei der Verhinderung einer Hyperinflation. Mit dem Rückgang der Inflation suchten Politiker jedoch eine größere Entscheidungsfreiheit beim Umgang mit ihren Wechselkursen und gingen zu Mischsystemen über, die flexible Festkurse, Währungsschlangen, Crawling Pegs und ex ante bekanntgegebene Kurse einschlossen. Die vor drei Jahren ausgebrochene Panik auf den Finanzmärkten setzte diesem Trend ein Ende, und zuvor als extreme Optionen angesehene Wechselkurssysteme erlangten wieder Bedeutung.

Regierungen scheinen nunmehr der Suche nach einem institutionellen Mechanismus, der einen festen Wechselkurs garantiert, Vorrang einzuräumen oder der Einführung des Systems des freien Floating, bei dem Interventionen in ausländische Devisenmärkte zur Stützung der eigenen Währung abgelehnt werden. Die erste Option - beispielsweise ein stärkerer fester Wechselkurs - kommt zum Ausdruck in Argentiniens Currency Board, in der Einführung einer gemeinsamen Währung (wie dem Euro in Europa) und der Preisgabe nationaler Währungen zugunsten des Dollars, wie es in Panama und, seit kurzem, auch in Ecuador der Fall ist.

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