An appreciation in the Exchange rate can occur for various reasons. The most significant reasons include higher interest rates and lower inflation. An appreciation of the exchange rate can have a significant impact on a country’s economic growth and inflation therefore it is important to understand what can cause an appreciation in the exchange rate.
1. Higher interest rates. If interest rates rise then it makes it more attractive to save money in UK banks and UK financial securities like bonds. Therefore this causes increased demand for sterling to deposit money in the UK. This is called “hot money flows” The higher demand for sterling causes an appreciation of the exchange rate. It is a significant factor because of the high volume of foreign exchange which is transferred between countries to take advantage of differences in interest rates.
2. Inflation Rates. If inflation in the UK is lower than elsewhere then it makes UK goods relatively more attractive. Therefore there is an increase in demand for UK exports and therefore higher demand for sterling this will cause an appreciation. This is a significant factor in the long term.
3. Speculation. A lot of exchange rate movements are due to speculation. If people think an exchange rate may increase in the future then they will buy now to try and make profit. Therefore this speculative buying causes significant fluctuations in the exchange rate. The attitude of foreign currency dealers to an economy is very important for determining the exchange rate.
4. Increase in competitiveness. This is related to lower inflation. If a country becomes more competitive because of increased labour productivity then there will be more demand for UK goods and the exchange rate.
5. Current Account Surplus. This means the value of imports (of goods and services) is less than the value of exports. Therefore more foreign currency is coming into the country than going out. (although it may be offset by a surplus on financial / capital account.