Skip to main content
The FRED® Blog

Posts tagged with: "DEXUSEU"

View this series on FRED

Constructing a bilateral real exchange rate

How to create new series on FRED

FRED lets you create commonly used data series that are not predefined. For example, you can normalize current account balances or government budget balances by GDP and you can deflate nominal data with a price index.

One popular variable that you can create is a bilateral real exchange rate index. While a nominal exchange rate is the relative price of 2 monies (e.g., the relative price of a euro in terms of U.S. dollars), a real exchange rate is the relative price of consumption baskets in two countries. A consumption basket is a set of goods and services that represent the purchases of a typical consumer in country in a given year. Thus the real exchange rate is the price of European goods in terms of U.S. goods. One converts a nominal exchange rate into a real rate by multiplying by the ratio of the national price levels:

U.S. goods per euro area goods basket = (USD per euro) * (euro price level) / (U.S. price level)

FRED has many kinds of broad, real effective exchange rates. Here is a list of FRED’s real U.S. exchange rates. These are effective or trade-weighted real exchange rates. They are weighted averages of bilateral real exchange rates. Currencies of the countries that the U.S. trade with the most receive the highest weights in the formula. Real effective exchange rates provide a look at changes in the overall value of foreign consumption baskets in terms of the U.S. consumption basket. When a real effective exchange rate rises (falls), the average foreign consumption basket becomes more (less) expensive in terms of U.S. consumption.

But what if you want to see the price of foreign consumption in terms of U.S. consumption for a particular country or area? For example, what if you want to see the real exchange rate for the dollar per euro, as we detailed at the start of the post? You can construct such a bilateral real exchange rate yourself in FRED using monthly price and exchange rate data from the U.S. and the euro area. The following instructions give you the graph at the top of this post.

1. Search for “euro” in the FRED search box and select “U.S. / Euro Foreign Exchange Rate.” The default graph will be a daily exchange rate (DEXUSEU).


2. Because consumer price series are monthly (or quarterly), use the orange “Edit Graph” button on the right hand side to change the frequency to monthly and the aggregation method to “average.” This series is series “a” in the graph. Keep the editing box open.

3. Add the U.S. and euro area CPI series using the “customize data” area.

a. To add the U.S. CPI data, type “cpi” directly under the text that says “You can begin by adding a series to combine with your existing series.” Click on the first series in the popup list called “Consumer price index for all urban consumers.” Click “Add” on the right-hand side of the box and the U.S. CPI series became series “b” in the graph. Note that the graph itself has not changed.

b. To add the euro area CPI data, type “euro cpi” directly under the text that says “You can begin by adding a series to combine with your existing series.” Click on the first series in the popup list called “Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices: All Items for the Euro Area.” Click “Add” on the right-hand side of the box and the euro CPI series became series “c” in the graph.

4. Now that we have defined our exchange rate and price series, we use them to construct a real exchange rate by typing the following formula in the “Formula” box near the bottom of the editing box: a*c/b. Then click “Apply” to the right of the box. The picture in the graph will finally change to the bilateral real exchange rate, i.e., baskets of U.S. goods per basket of euro area goods.

5. To change the real exchange rate to an index, select “Index (Scale value to 100 for chosen date)” from the “Units” box at the bottom of the editing box and then type “1999-01-01” in the date box. Close the edit box with the X in the upper right-hand corner.

6. To see a long span of the data series that you have created, select “Max” from the data range choices, i.e., “1Y | 5Y | 10Y | Max”, at the top of the graph.

Suggested by Chris Neely.

View on FRED, series used in this post: CP0000EZ19M086NEST, CPIAUCSL, DEXUSEU

Coronavirus effects on exchange rates

This FRED graph shows several exchange rates relative to the U.S. dollar. We start with the date January 6, 2020, where we set the index values equal to 100 for all these exchange rates so we can compare their relative changes since then. Through the end of February, most of these exchange rates have remained relatively stable; however, they began to increase in March. Brazil’s and Mexico’s exchange rates spiked, and their currencies have depreciated nearly 30% since the beginning of January.

In March, the COVID-19 pandemic became more severe, affecting overall economies as well as exchange rates. Reduced global demand for commodities such as oil has sent commodities prices crashing; Mexico and Brazil are major commodities-exporting countries. Canada’s and the U.K.’s exchange rates spiked at the beginning of March, but they seem to have recovered by the end of March. The euro seems to be unaffected by the global pandemic, at least compared with the U.S. dollar. China’s exchange rate, on the other hand, has remained constant despite the coronavirus originating there. Unlike the rest of the countries in our sample, which have floating exchange rates, China has a fixed exchange rate pegged to the U.S. dollar.

Large exchange rate movements can have consequences for economic growth, inflation, trade, and sovereign risk. Commodity-dependent economies and developing countries are most susceptible to this risk. It will be important to monitor the impacts of the coronavirus on international markets and economies because they will impact our interconnected, global economy.

How this graph was created: Start with a graph of any exchange rate. From the “Edit Graph” panel, use the “Add Line” tab to search for each exchange rate by its code and add it to the graph. Under “Edit Lines,” go to the dropdown box “Units” and select “Index (Scale value to 100 for chosen date).” Immediately below, under the heading “Select a date that will equal 100 for you custom index,” type in “2020-01-06.” Do this for all lines. For the euro and the pound, the original series have the U.S. dollar in the numerator, so we have to transform them to make them comparable to the other series. To do this, go to “Formula” and type 1/a and click “Apply.”

Suggested by Brian Reinhold and Yi Wen.

View on FRED, series used in this post: DEXBZUS, DEXCAUS, DEXCHUS, DEXMXUS, DEXUSEU, DEXUSUK

S’weird in Switzerland

Today is Switzerland’s national holiday, and of course FRED has Swiss data, which can be especially interesting because the Swiss economy is in many ways out of the ordinary. Previous FRED Blog posts have discussed the “peculiar” Swiss unemployment rate as well as its negative interest rates. In fact, as of today, the Swiss 50-year government bond has a negative nominal yield.

Today we look at the Swiss exchange rate. The graph shows in green the exchange rate of the Swiss franc with the euro, including a dramatic change on January 15, 2015. Unlike other countries’ exchange rate troubles, this event is actually an appreciation of the Swiss franc. Swiss franc appreciation is bad for exports, which Switzerland depends on. Because the franc has long been viewed as a refuge currency when economic trouble brews in Europe or elsewhere, it has been under a lot of appreciation pressure for some time. The Swiss National Bank has tried to cap the exchange rate at 1.20 for some time, flooding the currency markets with francs in exchange for euros and other assets. This sounds like a dream come true for any central banker: print money at will without negative consequences. Yet, this environment was unsustainable and, on January 15, 2015, the SNB decided to stop managing the exchange rate. The franc appreciated by about 20% almost immediately, and LIBOR interest rates dropped deep into negative territory. The graph shows the 3-month LIBOR in red.

How this graph was created: To create the Swiss franc/euro exchange rate, use the franc/dollar and dollar/euro exchange rates. First, search for “Franc Dollar” and graph the exchange rate. In the “Edit Graph” panel, add a series to the current line, searching for “Dollar Euro.” Apply the formula a*b. Then  search for “Franc LIBOR” and place that series on the right axis using the format tab.

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.

View on FRED, series used in this post: CHF3MTD156N, DEXSZUS, DEXUSEU


Subscribe to the FRED newsletter


Follow us

Back to Top