This exchange rate system has also advantages and disadvantages:

I. Advantages:

(i) Automatic Adjustment in BOP:

The chief merit of the freely fluctuating exchange rate is that BOP disequilibrium gets corrected au­tomatically with the change in exchange rate.

If BOP deficit arises, there would be an excess supply of home currency leading to a fall in exchange rate simply by the market forces of demand and supply. This causes export goods cheaper and import goods dearer.

As a result, export tends to rise while imports tend to de­cline thereby removing deficit in the BOP ac­count. Similarly, supply in BOP account means excess demand for home currency and, thus, rise in the exchange rate. This, in turn, encour­ages imports and discourages exports.


As a result, BOP accounts will reach equilibrium by the same logic. Thus, this exchange rate makes an automatic adjustment in the BOP crises of an economy and that too without governmental intervention.

(ii) No Collusion between Internal-External Objectives:

Surplus and deficit in the BOP ac­counts get corrected if foreign exchange rate falls and rises, respectively. In a regime of fixed exchange rate, removal of BOP deficit requires the adoption of internal policies like fall in income and price level. In other words, pegged exchange rate requires a change in domestic macroeconomic policies like deflationary poli­cies of price and output reduction. But, under flexible exchange rate system, a government can adopt independent monetary policy.

In other words, under this system of exchange rate, internal balance could be maintained by the government. It is further argued that as it is a self-adjusting mechanism to restore BOP equilibrium, a government can put more effort in tackling internal problems of infla­tion, unemployment, etc.

(iii) Absorption of Sudden Shocks:

In a flex­ible exchange rate, domestic economy remains insulated from external shocks and pressures. Under this system, the threat of ‘importing inflation’ outside the country is minimum. In other words, price feedback effect is imperceptible.

(iv) Minimum Buffer of Foreign Exchange Reserves:


Since exchange rate is not pegged under the floating arrangement of exchange rate, the central bank of a country needs to hold adequate foreign exchange reserves as a buffer against unforeseen developments in in­ternational trade.

II. Disadvantages:

(i) Uncertainty and Confusion:

Flexible ex­change rate and trade presents an atmosphere of uncertainty and confusion and trade and investment. Susceptibility to uncertainty is greater as soon as exchange rate fluctuates freely. Suppose, an Indian has despatched an export ‘invoice’ to foreign buyers. But the In­dian exporters do not know at what price for­eign currency will be converted into Indian currency. This kind of uncertainty hampers trade. However, such uncertainty can be largely minimised through forward exchange contracts.

(ii) Hampering Investment:

Unregulated free-floating exchange rate often discourages foreign investment as exchange rate becomes erratic and, hence, destabilising. Because of the uncertainty associated with this exchange rate involving profit and loss implications of for­eign investment deals, a country might expe­rience decumulation of capital. Hence destabilising in effect.

(iii) Risk, Instability and Speculation:

Flex­ible exchange rate encourages wide specula­tion since foreign exchange prices are not known in advance as in fixed exchange rate. It is because of speculation there occurs dis­ruptive hot money flows. To put it elaborately, it can be argued that when the exchange rate tends to decline, speculators anticipate that such would continue to decline further and the possibility of the flight of money to another country will brighten. This will then cause a further fall in the exchange rate. Thus, greater the speculation against the currency, the deeper the economic crises.


However, economists are not unanimous about this kind of speculation associated with the flexible exchange rate system.

(iv) Inflationary in Character:

By nature, flex­ible exchange rate is inflationary. As soon as the exchange rate falls automatically conse­quent upon BOP deficit, import goods become expensive. High cost of imported goods then fuel inflationary tendencies.

It is because of these drawbacks of the freely fluctuating exchange rate that countries attach importance to ‘managed exchange rate’ with their central banks buying and selling currencies in the foreign exchange market so as to moderate the degree of fluctuations as far as practicable.

III. Conclusion:

The natural question that arises from this discussion is: Which system is a bet­ter one, or which system should a country opt for?

B.O. Sodersten says that the answer to this question largely depends on the circum­stances. It depends on the characteristics of the economy. It should change as the economy changes. Value judgements too are also in­volved, and, ultimately, the answer depends on ‘values and views of a political nature.’