The recent currency crises in several emerging markets have touched off a debate about their causes. Whereas some blame fickle speculators for triggering speculative attacks virtually at random, others argue that the typical currency crisis is attributable to myopic economic policies. This paper examines common patterns of a large number of balanceof- payments crises focusing on a comprehensive sample of 26 emerging markets. Following a consistent categorising of events in the foreign exchange markets, it analyses the behaviour of a set of relatively easily accessible variables prior to speculative attacks. Applying univariate as well as multivariate statistical methods, it gives support to the view that in the past countries were not hit randomly by attacks on their currencies.
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