Problem Set 2 International Finance – SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS TO CHAPTER 4 PROBLEMS
- From base price levels of 100 in 1987, West German and U.S. price levels in 1988 stood at 102 and 106, respectively. If the 1987 $/DM exchange rate was $0.54, what should the exchange rate be in 1988? In fact, the exchange rate in 1988 was DM 1 = $0.56. What might account for the discrepancy? (Price levels were measured using the consumer price index.)
- In early 1996, the short-term interest rate in France was 3.7%, and forecast French inflation was 1.8%. At the same time, the short-term German interest rate was 2.6% and forecast German inflation was 1.6%.
- Based on these figures, what were the real interest rates in France and Germany?
- To what would you attribute any discrepancy in real rates between France and Germany?
- In July, the one‑year interest rate is 12% on British pounds and 9% on U.S. dollars.
- If the current exchange rate is $1.63:,1, what is the expected future exchange rate in one year?
- Suppose a change in expectations regarding future U.S. inflation causes the expected future spot rate to decline to $1.52:£1. What should happen to the U.S. interest rate?
- If expected inflation is 100% and the real required return is 5%, what will the nominal interest rate be according to the Fisher effect?
- Suppose that in Japan the interest rate is 8% and inflation is expected to be 3%. Meanwhile, the expected inflation rate in France is 12%, and the English interest rate is 14%. To the nearest whole number, what is the best estimate of the one‑year forward exchange premium (discount) at which the pound will be selling relative to the French franc?
- The inflation rate in Great Britain is expected to be 4% per year, and the inflation rate in Switzerland is expected to be 6% per year. If the current spot rate is £1 = SF 12.50, what is the expected spot rate in two years?
- If the $:¥ spot rate is $1 = ¥218 and interest rates in Tokyo and New York are 6% and 12%, respectively, what is the expected $:¥ exchange rate one year hence?
- Suppose that on January 1, the cost of borrowing French francs for the year is 18%. During the year, U.S. inflation is 5%, and French inflation is 9%. At the same time, the exchange rate changes from FF 1 = $0.15 on January 1 to FF 1 = $0.10 on December 31. What was the real U.S. dollar cost of borrowing francs for the year?
- Assume the interest rate is 16% on pounds sterling and 7% on the Euro. At the same time, inflation is running at an annual rate of 3% in Germany and 9% in England.
- If the Euro is selling at a one-year forward premium of 10% against the pound, is there an arbitrage opportunity? Explain.
- What is the real interest rate in Germany? in England?
- Suppose that during the year the exchange rate changes from Euro2.7/£1 to Euro2.65/£1. What are the real costs to a German company of borrowing pounds? Contrast this cost to its real cost of borrowing Euro.
- What are the real costs to a British firm of borrowing Euro? Contrast this cost to its real cost of borrowing pounds.
- Suppose today’s exchange rate is $0.62/Euro. The 6-month interest rates on dollars and Euro are 6% and 3%, respectively. The 6-month forward rate is $0.6185. A foreign exchange advisory service has predicted that the Euro will appreciate to $0.64 within six months.
- How would you use forward contracts to profit in the above situation?
- How would you use money market instruments (borrowing and lending) to profit?
- Which alternatives (forward contracts or money market instruments) would you prefer? Why?
Chapter 11(a) problems
- On January 1, the U.S. dollar:Japanese yen exchange rate is $1 = ¥250. During the year, U.S. inflation is 4% and Japanese inflation is 2%. On December 31, the exchange rate is $1 = ¥235. What are the likely competitive effects of this exchange rate change on Caterpillar Tractor, the American earth‑moving manufacturer, whose toughest competitor is Japan’s Komatsu?
- In 1990, General Electric acquired Tungsram Ltd., a Hungarian light bulb manufacturer. Hungary’s inflation rate was 28% in 1990 and 35% in 1991, while the forint (Hungary’s currency) was devalued 5% and 15%, respectively, during those years. Corresponding inflation for the U.S. was 6.1% in 1990 and 3.1% in 1991.
- What has happened to the competitiveness of GE’s Hungarian operations during 1990 and 1991? Explain.
- In early 1992, GE announced that it would cut back its capital investment in Tungsram. What might have been the purpose of GE’s publicly announced cutback?
- Assess the likely consequences of a declining dollar on Fluor Corporation, the international construction‑ engineering contractor based in Irvine, California. Most of Fluor’s value‑added involves project design and management; most of its costs are for U.S. labor in design, engineering, and construction‑management services.
- The Edmonton Oilers (Canada) of the National Hockey League are two‑time defending Stanley Cup champions. (The Stanley Cup playoff is hockey’s equivalent of football’s Super Bowl or baseball’s World Series.) As is true of all NHL teams, most of the Oilers’ players are Canadian. How are the Oilers affected by changes in the Canadian dollar/U.S. dollar exchange rate?
- South Korean companies such as Goldstar, Samsung, and Daewoo have captured more than 10% of the U.S. color TV market with their small, low‑priced TV sets. They are also becoming more significant exporters of videocassette recorders and small microwave ovens. What currency risk do these firms face?
- Black & Decker Manufacturing Co. of Towson, Maryland, has roughly 45% of its assets and 40% of its sales overseas. How does a soaring dollar affect its profitability, both at home and abroad?
- The shipbuilding industry is facing a worldwide capacity surplus. Although Japan currently controls about 50% of the world market, it is facing severe competition from the South Koreans. Japanese shipyards are extraordinarily productive, but at current price levels were just about breaking even with an exchange rate of ¥240 = $1. What are the likely effects on Japanese shipbuilders of a yen appreciation to ¥180 = $1? The South Korean won has maintained its dollar value.
Chapter 11(b) problems
- Gizmo, U.S.A. is investigating medium‑term financing of $10 million in order to build an addition to its factory in Toledo, Ohio. Gizmo’s bank has suggested the following alternatives:
|Type of loan||Rate|
|3-year U.S. dollar loan
3-year Euro loan
3-year Swiss franc loan
- 1. What information does Gizmo require to decide among the three alternatives?
- 2. Suppose the factory will be built in Geneva, Switzerland, rather than Toledo. How does this affect your answer in part a?
- In September 1992, Dow Chemical reacted to the currency chaos in Europe by switching to Euro pricing for all its products in Europe. The purpose, said a Dow executive, was to shift currency risk from Dow to its European customers. Moreover, said the Dow executive, the policy was fairer: By setting the same DM price throughout Europe, Dow’s new policy would nullify any advantage that a Dow customer in one company might have over competitors in another country based on currency swings.
- What is Dow really trying to accomplish with its new pricing policy?
- What is the likelihood that this new policy will reduce Dow’s currency risk?
- How are Dow’s customers likely to respond to this new policy?
- Cost Plus Imports is a West Coast chain specializing in low‑cost imported goods, principally from Japan. It has to put out its semiannual catalogue with prices that are good for six months. Advise Cost Plus Imports on how it can protect itself against currency risk.
- Lyle Shipping, a British company, has chartered out ships at fixed‑U.S.‑dollar freight rates. How can Lyle use financing to hedge against its exposure? How will your recommendation affect Lyle’s translation exposure? Lyle uses the current rate method to translate foreign currency assets and liabilities. However, the charters are off‑balance‑sheet items.
- In 1985, Japan Airlines (JAL) bought $3 billion of foreign exchange contracts at ¥180/$1 over 11 years to hedge its purchases of U.S. aircraft. By 1994, with the yen at about ¥100/$1, JAL had incurred more than $1 billion in cumulative foreign exchange losses on that deal.
- What was the economic rationale behind JAL’s hedges?
- Did JAL’s forward contracts constitute an economic hedge? That is, is it likely that JAL’s losses on its forward contracts were offset by currency gains on its operations?
- In 1990, a Japanese investor paid $100 million for an office building in downtown Los Angeles. At the time, the exchange rate was ¥145/$1. When the investor went to sell the building five years later, in early 1995, the exchange rate was ¥85/$1 and the building’s value had collapsed to $50 million.
- What exchange risk did the Japanese investor face at the time of his purchase?
- How could the investor have hedged his risk?