The results have important insights to offer in terms of future policies with regards to exchange rate management, macroeconomic policies and management.

EXCHANGE RATE VOLATILITY AND EXPORT COMPETITIVENESS
Empirical Evidence
From
MAURITIUS
By Virendra Polodoo
June 1, 2010
Economic Analysis Research Papers WP16/12
ABSTRACT
Following the floating of the US dollar in 1973, liberalization of capital flows and the associated
intensification of cross-border financial transactions during the last three decades, we saw the
emergence of important volatility and uncertainty in exchange rates. This has raised eyebrows
among policy makers and researchers as regards the impact of exchange rate movements on
exports we have examined the effect on EPZ exports and tourism of exchange rate fluctuations
in Mauritius by employing an Error Correction Model. The results so obtained are in line with
the theoretical foundations. In fact for both equations, the REER and volatility are both
economically and statistically insignificant at the 5% level of significance. Yet, we find that
foreign income, contrary to the law of income elasticity of demand, is both economically and
statistically insignificant and thus has been removed from the final equations. Same was found
for the Terms and Trade and the dummy variables. The results have important insights to offer
in terms of future policies with regards to exchange rate management, macroeconomic policies
and management.
Keywords: Textile Exports, Tourism Earnings, Euro, USD, Exchange rate.
TO THE LOVING MEMORY OF MY DAD
TO MY SON RUHIKSCH
1
Part 1: Introduction
1.1. Building Blocks.
Following the floating of the US dollar in 1973, liberalization of capital flows and the associated
intensification of cross-border financial transactions during the last three decades, we saw the
emergence of important volatility and uncertainty in exchange rates. This has raised eyebrows
among policy makers and researchers as regards the impact of exchange rate movements on
exports. Arguments, both theoretical and empirical are divided as to the results of the
relationship between exchange rate variability and exports/trade flows, that is, whilst some
models advocate that volatility in exchange rates foster uncertainty and increases risks and
therefore hamper growth in foreign trade, some other models postulate otherwise.
The purpose of this paper is to close this gap and empirically analyse the main predicaments
being faced by domestic exporters in Mauritius in terms of exchange rate.
1.2. Problem Statement
An analysis of the above type to Mauritius is deemed pertinent as it has recently experienced
negative shocks in its terms of trade owing to the phasing out of the Multi-Fiber Agreement in
2004, cuts in sugar price under the Lome Convention by the European Union in 2006 and
skyrocketing world oil and commodity prices. Given the prevailing situation in the eurozone,
albeit not alarming, there are two areas for concern: the first being the level of indebtedness of
some European countries and the exchange rate of the Euro, which has been sliding against
other major currencies. This is directly impacting on Mauritian exporters and potentially the
tourism sector as countries in Europe introduce austerity measures to counter the crisis. Europe
remains the main market for Mauritian exports and the major source of our visitors. The
packages are intended to bail out Greece, which is presently at the centre of the financial storm
and subsequently lead to further depreciation of the euro. The latter is impacting on our exports
and tourism sectors and the evolution of the exchange rate is detrimental to those two key
sectors. The Euro was selling at MUR44 at the beginning of the year 2010 and reached about
MUR40 in mid-May 2010, albeit receipts for the first three months have not yet been
overwhelmingly impacted by the Eurozone crisis. Receipts in the Mauritian Textile sector for the
2
first three months of year 2010 reached MUR.5.8 billion as compared to MUR.5.9m a year
before. Tourisms receipts, on the other hand, are up 7.4% over the first quarter. Yet, the main
apprehension of a further deterioration of the situation is that exporters might lose on revenues
through the exchange rate, while tourism operators are losing out. It is questionable as to
whether other countries of the Eurozone will be affected by a domino effect of the Greece crisis
which might ultimately affect our tourism sector. These facts raise questions about the
competitiveness of the Mauritian economy and what might be done to ensure external stability
and reduce vulnerabilities
1.3. Motivation of the study
Our main exports have always been vulnerable to real exchange rate variability, but exchange
rate risk hedging facilities in Mauritius are virtually nonexistent. Although hedging facilities are
available, they are considered as expensive for small exporting firms. As a result, exporters bear
the consequences of unexpected changes in the exchange rates. So far, despite some studies
have been carried out in some developing countries, there has been no study taken in Small
Island Developing States like Mauritius, to analyse the extent to which our export markets are
affected by movements in exchange rates. This paper closes a significant gap in the literature
and employ a superior measure of exchange rate volatility based on GARCH ( Generalised
Autoregressive Conditional Heteroskedasticity) method. The analysis is intended to have
important policy implications as it shall help informed decision making about policy markers in
formulating their exchange rate policy with a view to stimulate our exports. It can also be a case
for exporters can argue their case to Government by lobbying for an export-friendly
macroeconomic environment and assist them to plan their export activities more effectively.
1.4. Research Aims
The main aim of this paper is to estimate an export econometric equation for Mauritius exports
between 1989 to2009. Other objectives include:
? Evaluate the impact of real exchange rate volatility on Mauritian textile sector
? Evaluate the impact of real exchange rate volatility on the tourism sector
? Draw conclusions and make policy recommendations.
3
1.5. Research structure
The paper is organized as follows: Part 2 and 3 gives an overview if the theoretical and empirical
underpinnings respectively. Par4 gives a statistical analysis of the evolution of the exchange
rate, EPZ Exports, Tourism Earnings, USD and imports in Mauritius. Further, part 5 gives an
econometric analysis as regards the linkages between EPZ exports and euro, Tourism earnings
and euro. Finally, part 6 concludes with suggestions and justifications for future policies.
4
Part 2.0- Theoretical Underpinnings- Exchange Rate Volatility And Exports
There has been a plethora of models developed to explain exchange rate volatility and exports,
some of which are explained below:
2.1 The Partial Equilibrium Approach.
Clark (1973) uses an example of a rudimentary exporting firm to illustrate how (real) exchange
rate volatility can affect the level of the firm?s exports. He considers a competitive firm with no
market power producing only one commodity which is sold entirely to one foreign market and
does not import any intermediate inputs. The firm is paid in foreign currency and converts the
proceeds of its exports at the current exchange rate, which varies in an unpredictable fashion, as
there are assumed to be no hedging possibilities, such as through forward sales of the foreign
currency export sales. Moreover, because of costs in adjusting the scale of production, the firm
makes its production decision in advance of the realization of the exchange rate and therefore
cannot alter its output in response to favorable or unfavorable shifts in the profitability of its
exports arising from movements in the exchange rate. In this situation the variability in the
firm?s profits arises solely from the exchange rate, and where the managers of the firm are
adversely affected by risk, greater volatility in the exchange rate ? with no change in its average
level leads to a reduction in output, and hence in exports, in order to reduce the exposure to
risk. This basic model has been elaborated by a number of authors, e.g., Hooper and Kohlhagen
(1978), who reach the same conclusion of a clear negative relationship between exchange rate
volatility and the level of trade.
However, this strong conclusion rests on a number of simplifying assumptions. First, it is
assumed that there are no hedging possibilities either through the forward exchange market or
through offsetting transactions. For advanced economies where there are well developed
forward markets, specific transactions can be easily hedged, thus reducing exposure to
unforeseen movements in exchange rates. But it needs to be recognized that such markets do
not exist for the currencies of most developing countries. Moreover, even in advanced
economies the decision to continue to export or import would appear to reflect a series of
transactions over time where both the amount of foreign currency receipts and payments, as
5
well are the forward rate, are not known with certainty. Moreover, there are numerous
possibilities for reducing exposure to the risk of adverse exchange rate fluctuations other than
forward currency markets. The key point is that for a multinational firm engaged in a wide
variety of trade and financial transactions across a large number of countries, there are manifold
opportunities to exploit offsetting movements in currencies and other variables. For example,
there is a clear tendency for exchange rates to adjust to differences in inflation rates, and recent
evidence suggests that such adjustment may be quicker than indicated by earlier studies. Thus,
if exports are priced in a foreign currency that is depreciating, the loss to the exporter from the
declining exchange rate is at least partly offset by the higher foreign-currency export price
(Cushman, 1983 and 1986). In a similar vein, as noted by Clark (1973), to the extent that an
exporter imports intermediate inputs from a country whose currency is depreciating, there will
be some offset to declining export revenue in the form of lower input costs. In addition, when a
firm trades with a large number of countries, the tendency for some exchange rates to move in
offsetting directions will provide a degree of protection to its overall exposure to currency risk.
Finally, as analyzed by Makin (1978), a finance perspective suggests that there are many
possibilities for a multinational corporation to hedge foreign currency risks arising from exports
and imports by holding a portfolio of assets and liabilities in different currencies.
One reason why trade may be adversely affected by exchange rate volatility stems from the
assumption that the firm cannot alter factor inputs in order to adjust optimally to take account
of movements in exchange rates. When this assumption is relaxed and firms can adjust one or
more factors of production in response to movements in exchange rates, increased variability
can in fact create profit opportunities. This situation has been analyzed by Canzoneri, et al.
(1984), De Grauwe (1992), and Gros (1987), for example. The effect of such volatility depends
on the interaction of two forces at work. On the one hand, if the firm can adjust inputs to both
high and low prices, its expected or average profits will be larger with greater exchange rate
variability, as it will sell more when the price is high, and vice versa. On the other hand, to the
extent that there is risk aversion, the higher variance of profits has an adverse effect on the firm
and constitutes a disincentive to produce and to export. If risk aversion is relatively low, the
positive effect of greater price variability on expected profits outweighs the negative impact of
the higher variability of profits, and the firm will raise the average capital stock and the level of
output and exports. In a more general setting analyzing the behavior of a firm under
uncertainty, Pindyck (1982) has also shown that under certain conditions, increased price
6
variability can result in increased average investment and output as the firm adjusts to take
advantage of high prices and to minimize the impact of low prices.
One aspect of the relationship between trade and exchange rate volatility that needs to be
mentioned is the role of ?sunk costs.? Much of international trade consists of differentiated
manufactured goods that typically require significant investment by firms to adapt their
products to foreign markets, to set up marketing and distribution networks, and to set up
production facilities specifically designed for export markets. These sunk costs would tend to
make firms less responsive to short-run movements in the exchange rate, as they would tend to
adopt a ?wait and see? approach and stay in the export market as long as they can recover their
variable costs and wait for a turnaround in the exchange rate to recoup their sunk costs.
Following the finance literature on real options (e.g., McDonald and Segel, 1986), Dixit (1989)
and Krugman (1989) have explored the implications of sunk costs in the context of an ?options?
approach, which has been applied by Franke (1991) and Sercu and Vanhulle (1992). The key idea
is that an exporting firm can be viewed as owning an option to leave the export market, and a
firm not currently exporting can be regarded as owning an option to enter the foreign market in
the future. The decision to enter or exit the export market involves considering explicit fixed and
variable costs, but also the cost of exercising the option to enter or leave the market. The
greater the volatility in exchange rates, the greater the value of keeping the option, and hence
the greater the range of exchange rates within which the firm stays in the export market, or
stays out if it has not yet entered. This suggests that increased exchange rate volatility would
increase the inertia in entry and exit decisions.
It is useful to note that in most theoretical models, what is being studied is the volatility of the
real exchange rate as opposed to the nominal exchange rate. The two are distinct conceptually
but do not differ much in reality: prices of goods tend to be ?sticky? in local currency in the short-
to-medium run. In this case, real and nominal exchange rate volatilities are virtually the same for
practical purposes.
7
2.2. The General Equilibrium Approach
So far the discussion of the impact of volatility on trade has been within a partial equilibrium
framework, i.e., the only variable that changes is some measure of the variability of the
exchange rate, and all other factors that may have an influence on the level of trade are
assumed to remain unchanged. However, those developments that are generating the exchange
rate movements are likely to affect other aspects of the economic environment which will in
turn have an effect on trade flows. Thus it is important to take account in a general equilibrium
framework the interaction of all the major macroeconomic variables to get a more complete
picture of the relationship between exchange rate variability and trade. Such an analysis has
recently been provided by Bacchetta and Van Wincoop (2000). They develop a simple, two-
country, general equilibrium model where uncertainty arises from monetary, fiscal, and
technology shocks, and they compare the level of trade and welfare for fixed and floating
exchange rate arrangements. They reach two main conclusions. First, there is no clear
relationship between the level of trade and the type of exchange rate arrangement. Depending
on the preferences of consumers regarding the tradeoff between consumption and leisure, as
well as the monetary policy rules followed in each system, trade can be higher or lower under
either exchange rate arrangement. As an example of the ambiguity of the relationship between
volatility and trade in a general equilibrium environment, a monetary expansion in the foreign
country would depreciate its exchange rate, causing it to reduce its imports, but the increased
demand generated by the monetary expansion could offset part or all of the exchange rate
effect. Thus the nature of the shock that causes the exchange rate change can lead to changes in
other macroeconomic variables that offset the impact of the movement in the exchange rate.
Second, the level of trade does not provide a good index of the level of welfare in a country, and
thus there is no one-to-one relationship between levels of trade and welfare in comparing
exchange rate systems. In their model, trade is determined by the certainty equivalent of a
firm?s revenue and costs in the home market relative to the foreign market, whereas the welfare
of the country is determined by the volatility of consumption and leisure.
Obstfeld and Rogoff (1998) also provide an analysis of the welfare costs of exchange rate
volatility. They extend the ?new open economy macroeconomic model? to an explicitly
stochastic environment where risk has an impact on the price-setting decisions of firms, and
hence on output and international trade flows. They provide an illustrative example whereby
8
reducing the variance of the exchange rate to zero by pegging the exchange rate could result in
a welfare gain of up to one percent of GDP. Bergin and Tchakarov (2003) provide an extension of
this type of model to more realistic situations involving incomplete asset markets and
investment by firms. They are able to calculate the effects of exchange rate uncertainty for a
wide range of cases and find that the welfare costs are generally quite small, on the order of one
tenth of one percent of consumption. However, they explore the implications of two cases
where risk does matter quantitatively, on the order of the effect in the example cited above by
Obstfeld and Rogoff (1998): first, where consumers exhibit considerable persistence in their
pattern of consumption, such that welfare is adversely affected by sudden changes in
consumption, and second, where asset markets are asymmetric in that there is only one
international bond, such that the country without its own bond is adversely affected.
Finally, Koren and Szeidl (2003) develop a model which brings out clearly the interactions
among macroeconomic variables. They show that what matters is not the unconditional
volatility of the exchange rate as a proxy for risk, as used in many empirical papers in the
literature, but rather that exchange rate uncertainty should influence trade volumes and prices
through the covariances of the exchange rate with the other key variables in the model. In this
general equilibrium context, they stress that it is not uncertainty per se in the exchange rate
that matters, but rather whether this uncertainty magnifies or reduces the firm?s other risks on
the cost and demand side, and ultimately whether it exacerbates or moderates the risk faced by
consumers. In addition, they analyze the extent to which local currency vs. producer currency
pricing by exporters affects the risks facing the firm; their empirical evidence suggests that risk is
higher with the former pricing rule.
9
Part 3- Review of Empirical Literature.
Most of the earlier papers (1978 to the mid-1990s) employ only cross-sectional or time-series
data and the empirical evidence of these earlier studies is mixed. For example, Hooper and
Kohlhagen (1978), Bailey and Tavlas (1988), and Holly (1995) use time-series data to examine
the impact of exchange rate volatility on exports of industrialised countries and find essentially
no evidence of any negative effect.
Cushman (1986), De Grauwe (1988) and Bini-Smaghi (1991) also examine samples of
industrialised countries using time-series data and, in contrast, find evidence of a significant
negative effect. Cross-sectional studies, such as Brada and Mendez (1988) and Frankel and Wei
(1993) find also a negative impact of exchange risk on trade volume, but the effect is, in most
cases, relatively small.
More recent panel data studies have tended to find evidence of negative impact of exchange
rate volatility on bilateral trade. There are apparent advantages of using panel data. Dell?Arricia
(1999) notes that unobservable cross-sectional specific effects which may have impact on the
trade flows - such as cross-country structural and policy differences ? can be accounted for
either via fixed effects or random effects specification. Using fixed effects, Dell?Ariccia (1999)
estimates the impact of exchange rate volatility on the bilateral trade of 15 EU member states
plus Switzerland over the 20 years, from 1975 to 1994, and finds that exchange rate volatility
has a small but significant negative impact on trade; eliminating exchange rate volatility to zero
in 1994 would have increased trade by 3 to 4 percent.
Rose (2000), Clark et al., (2004) and Tenreyro (2007) also employ panel data containing over
100 countries. In the benchmark result of Rose (2000), the impact of exchange rate volatility on
trade is significantly negative; increase in exchange rate volatility by one standard deviation
around the mean would reduce bilateral trade by 13 percent. Tenreyro (2007) finds a small
negative effect similar to Dell?Ariccia (1999); reducing exchange rate volatility to zero raises
trade by only 2 percent.
10
Using fixed effect estimation, Clark, Tamirisa and Wei (2004) find a negative and significant
impact of exchange rate volatility on trade; a one standard deviation increase in exchange rate
volatility would reduce trade by 7 percent.
Empirical studies focusing on emerging and developing countries and using time-series data
support the hypothesis of a negative impact of exchange rate volatility on trade. For instance,
Arize et al. (2000; 2008) and Dognalar (2002) investigate the relationship between exports and
exchange rate volatility in emerging and developing economies. However, these studies focus
on the impact of real effective exchange rate volatility on total exports of a country, not on
bilateral trade.
Only Chit (2008) examines the bilateral exports among five ACFTA countries, and finds that total
elimination of exchange rate volatility, in 2004, would have increased the intra-regional trade of
ACFTA by 5 percent. Chit, Myint Moe, Rizov, Marian and Willenbockel, Dirk(2008)
Studies that have found a negative impact include Grobar (1993) for a number of developing
countries, Gonzanga and Terra (1997) for Brazilian exports, and Sekkat and Varoudakis (1998)
for a panel study of sub-Saharan African manufactured exports. According to Ogun (1998) and
Adubi and Okumadewa (1999), there is a negative effect on Nigeria?s non-oil and agricultural
exports, respectively. Furthermore, Darrat and Hakim (2000) found a significant negative effect
for Moroccan exports with the GARCH-based measure of nominal exchange rate volatility, but
not with the standard deviation version of volatility.
Other developing country empirical evidence in support of the negative effect of exchange rate
volatility on trade flows includes Kumar and Dhawan (1991) for Pakistan?s exports to the
developed world, Savvides (1992) for a combined sample of developed and developing
countries, and Hassan and Tufte (1998) for Bangladesh?s exports. Others are Asafu-Adjaye
(1999) for Fiji export growth, Ozbay (1999) for Turkish exports, Hook and Boon (2000) for
Malaysian exports, and Arize et al. (2000) for exports by 13 developing countries. In addition,
Sauer and Bohara?s (2001) comparative study of developed and developing countries on
exchange rate volatility and aggregate exports found a negative effect for developing but not for
developed countries.
11
In developed countries, other evidence in support of the adverse effect of exchange rate
volatility on trade flows includes, among others, Hooper and Kohlhagen (1978) for the United
States (US) and German bilateral exports, and Gotur (1985) for a number of developed
countries. Maskus (1986) used sectoral analysis of exchange rate risk to study US trade and
Kenen and Rodrik (1986) looked into the effect of short-term real effective exchange rate
volatility. Koray and Lastrapes (1989) applied a VAR model to US bilateral imports from
European countries, Chowdhury (1993) used a multivariate error correction model for the G-7
countries, and Arize (1997) studied seven industrialized countries. Other studies were those by
De Arcangelis and Pensa (1997) for Italian export data; Fountas et al. (1998) for Irish exports;
Arize and Malindretos (1998) for Australian and New Zealand exports, Fountas and Aristotelous
(1999a/b) in the model of exports for the European Monetary System (EMS); and Dell?Ariccia
(1999) with panel data for volatility-trade flows in the European Union. On the other hand,
Sauer and Bohara (2001) found a positive relationship between aggregate exports and volatility
for industrial countries.
Clearly, a large number of studies have found a negative effect of exchange rate volatility on
trade flows, but others point to a positive relationship. Therefore, the theoretical ambiguity of
real exchange rate volatility effect on exports is also evident in empirical work. Cote (1994)
reviewed some studies, mostly for industrial countries and observed the effect of exchange rate
volatility on trade flows was mixed. Overall, however, a larger number of studies appeared to
favour the conventional assumption that exchange rate volatility depresses the level of trade.
12
Part 4: Statistical Analysis.
4.1. Evolution of the exchange rate in Mauritius
Exchange rate regimes have undergone marked changes since the British colony days. By not
having its own currency, the Currency Board like system was created in the 19th Century- 1848,
being regarded as the first in the world. The various shifts in exchange rate policies may be
represented in the following table:
Table 1: Exchange Rate Policy shifts
Period Exchange Rate Policy
1870 Switch between Pound Sterling(gold) and Indian
Rupee (Silver)
Between 1878 and 1934 Common Monetary Union with India with the INR
as the legal tender
Throughout the 19th and 20th Century Almost linked to GBP through currency boards
1934 Introduced its own currency but still pegged to GBP
through currency board
1967 Pegged to GBP but dual forex market separating
capital account transactions from current account
transactions.
1972 Left GBP in June 1972 of the back of weakening
GBP and establishment of a central exchange rate
with Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)
1976 Pegged to SDRs with a 2% band
1979 and 1981 Devaluation of MUR
1982 Delinked from SDR and pegged to trade weighted
exchange rates of its major trading partners?
currency. De facto pegging to USD. Capital Account
Control
1992 Exchange Rate restrictions removed
1994 Capital Account fully liberalised
Source: Mauritius, A Competitive Assessment, IMF Working Paper WP/08/212 by Patrick Imam and Camelia Minoiu
(2008)
13
In addition to the above, Since 1994, Mauritius has maintained a managed float, whereby the
Bank of Mauritius intervenes only to prevent high deviations from normal path of exchange
rates within certain bands. Post-Bretton Woods the nominal exchange rate (NER) continuously
depreciated against the US dollar (Figure 1) because inflation was higher in Mauritius than in its
trading partners. Monetary policy accommodated the higher inflation differentials by letting the
NER depreciate to achieve a stationary REER.
Source: Mauritius, A Competitive Assessment, IMF Working Paper WP/08/212 by Patrick Imam and Camelia Minoiu
(2008)
In addition, on a nominal effective basis, the rupee depreciated against the currencies of its
important trading partners over the years. MERI1, which uses the currency distribution of trade
as weights, showed a rupee depreciation of 8.12 per cent while MERI2, which uses the currency
distribution of trade combined with the currency distribution of tourism receipts as weights,
showed a depreciation of 9.23 per cent for the period 2001-2009. The real effective exchange
rate of the rupee depreciated by 8.12 per cent over the period under review.
14
A Micro analysis reveal that the USD appreciates against the MUR over the period 2001 to 2010
from below MUR30/USD to above MUR30/USD- MUR34.3133 on 28 May 2010 on the back of
increased imports, being paid in dollars, which increased the supply of MUR vis-à-vis the USD on
the forex market. As far as the Euro is concerned, despite an appreciating trend since its
inception vis-à-vis the MUR, it has started to depreciate recently owing to the Debt crisis in
emanating from Greece.
4.2. Evolution of our EPZ Exports.
From a monocrop economy, Mauritius embarked on an outward-looking export-led growth
strategy. With the EPZ Act in the 1970?s, the first industrial zones were set up in the early 1970s.
Owing to the world oil price crisis and adverse world macroeconomic setbacks, the EPZ sector
was rather gloomy in the 1970?s. The real take off of the EPZ occurred in the mid 1980s with an
exceptional period of economic growth and development. The success of the development of
the EPZ may be attributed to a number of factors including the selection of business friendly
policies provided by the government, the stable industrial relations and the availability of a
competitive labour pool, which help to attract investors. Undoubtedly, being a small open island
economy, international events were and remain of significant importance for Mauritius.
Henceforth, the unique advantage Mauritius had under the home convention also played an
important role in attracting investors in the EPZ sector as the Mauritius exports benefited from
the duty-free and quota-free access to the European market while other developing nations had
quotas and tariffs imposed on their exports. In addition to this, the retrocession of the Hong
Kong to China also led to some of the last investors to invest in Mauritius.
So, a multiple of local factors and international developments led to the creation of mass
employment and boosted exports enormously, thereby providing economic betterment and
prosperity.
For example, AGOA, The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act which was enacted on 23 May
2000, is being regarded as a panacea for the Mauritian apparel industry. AGOA is supposed to
provide eligible countries from Sub Sahara African (SSA) exporting to the US to get the
advantage of an average of 17.5% customs duty compared to non-African suppliers. But, to reap
the benefit of AGOA, it is imperative to adhere to the strict rules of origins. With stiff
competition in the European market, AGOA can boost up the apparel exports in Mauritius.
15
Having been satisfied the criteria rules of origin, Mauritius can enjoy the duty-free and quota
from export possibilities to remain competitive and ensure the survival of the textile and
clothing sector. Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar and Swaziland benefit from LDC status and can
thus, obtain their yarn and fabrics from any part of the world until September 2004. As a result
of this, they have an advantage on Mauritius because in order to have the duty-free access to
the US market, yarn and fabric must be sewed in eligible SSA countries on US. It is very difficult
for Mauritius to purchase yarn and fabric from US because of high transportation cost. Usually,
Mauritius producers buy yarn and fabric from Asia and thus, AGOA may foster more regional
integration in SSA.
Also, the Multifibre Agreement was established in 1974 by developed countries to protect their
own textile and garment industry preventing large exports from Less Developing Countries
(LDCs). LDCs had an abundant pool of labour and were hence, able to supply the European (EU)
and United States (US) markets at a lower cost. As a safeguarding measure, the US and EU came
up with quotas on the exports of the LDCs. Each year countries agree on quotas, that is, the
quantity which can be traded between them. The Marrakech meeting in 1994, decided to phase
out the MFA over a period of 10 years. One of the main features of the MFA it provokes a shift
in production within LDCs, whereby some lose at the expense of others. With the quota system
some reengineering process in the textiles production took place. Countries like Korea and Hong
Kong profited from the unused quotas of other countries or their LDC status. Illegal transaction,
like the transhipment, sewing of false ?made in? labels or falsification of documents occurred.
Thus, in 2002 containers of goods made in Sri Lanka were found with the ?made in Mauritius?
label. Such a case represents a threat to undermine the privileges Mauritius have under the
AGOA since the products destined to the US.
The MFA has been a great importance in the development of the EPZ. As a major beneficiary
under the MFA, Mauritius will be a loser in the future since it has to face stiff competition from
low cost producers. According to analysts in textile and clothing, in the post-MFA era, the ability
of a country to compete would be influenced by factors such as: wage costs, supply of yarn,
fabric and other raw materials, Infrastructure for transport and marketing, Nearness to markets.
It has to be reckoned that the EPZ has to meet big challenges. The island has to face competition
from low cost producers from Asia and emerging markets of South East Africa and thus, under
such auspices, the capacity of Mauritius to compete is low.
16
However, some foresighted Mauritian producers resist the challenge to export to the EU and US
markets by air and thus, reducing the delivery-time from four to two weeks by using air freight.
Moreover, the introduction of AGOA has sped up the process of vertical integration in the
textiles industry, urging Mauritius to supply yarn and fabric locally. Furthermore, an
infrastructure for transport and marketing already exist in the country, reducing the constraints
faced by other countries like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Nevertheless, the competition from
India, China and Pakistan remain unavailable as they already have a textile base and their cost of
labour is very competitive by international standards. Similarly, Korea has a very high productive
and efficiency while Thailand and Phillipines are expected to lose as they do not have an
industrial base compared to Vietnam which is expected to emerge as a major producer.
It is also very obvious that the phasing out of the MFA Act as a spur to trade liberalization.
Undoubtedly, Mauritius which has developed its textile and garmenting industry on the basis of
the MFA stands to lose out. Significantly provided it can review its trade strategy or renegotiate
preferential trade agreements for the medium term. A complete reengineering of trade results
since buyers in the US and EU have more options to choose from. This may curtail prices when
producers in developing countries compete with others in the developed market. Thus, many
small or inefficient producers have to close down. On the contrary, producers in developed
countries may provide big contract to lower wage economies, exerting big pressure to lower
costs in the developing world.
Recently, the path of the EURO has had raised eyebrows among various stakeholders about the
future of the EPZ sector in Mauritius.
4.3. Statistical Linkage between the Euro and Textile Export Earnings.
Here, we provide an evolution of the Euro vis-à-vis the Mauritian rupee (MUR) as well as
Mauritian Textile Export Earnings and assess whether there is a linkage between them. For the
period of study, that is from 2001 to 2009, the euro generally appreciates from
MUR.27.0487/EUR1 in 2001 to reach MUR45.9063 in 2009. Note that after reaching a highest
value of MUR.47.2215/EUR1, the euro starts to depreciate and recently (in May 2010) reach
about MUR.40/EUR.
17
Our Textile has faced many challenges in the recent years. Back from a boom in that industry in
the 1980?s, 1990?s and the early 2000?s on the back of massive influx of Foreign Direct
Investment from Asian and European Countries and International Agreements such as the Africa
Growth and Opportunity Act and Multi Fiber Agreements, today our Textile sector is on the
brink of collapse. The phasing out of the MultiFiber Agreement and heavy competition from low
cost producing emerging economies of the like of BRIC Countries (Brasil, Russia, India and
China), Sri Lanka, Pakistan and other Asian countries, Mauritius is gradually losing its
comparative advantage in Textiles. In addition to the above challenges, Mauritius is presently is
on the dawn of a severe collapse of its industry with the ongoing depreciation of the euro vis-à-
vis the MUR which means that exporters are not immune from their transaction exposure, that
is, their export revenue might be hit severely. The link between the Euro and Textile Export
Earnings may be explained by use of the following diagrams:
18
From the above diagrams, we note that the euro depreciates three times against the MUR; in
the years 2005, 2007 and 2009. However, we note that despite the depreciation of the euro in
the years mentioned, only in 2007 and 2009 that Mauritian Textile Exports fell, indicating that
depreciation of the Euro is not the prime factor explaining falling exports in the Textile industry
and that our Textile sector is being affected other factors.
4.4. Statistical Linkage between the Euro and Tourism Earnings.
Since the late 1970?s, the government has always poised to make Mauritius a tourist paradise.
Despite problems like the 1999 riots and Chikungunya (a disease) hitting Mauritius, Tsunami
risks, the tourism sector remained one of the most promising engines of growth in real GDP for
the period studied. Tourist arrivals skyrocketed from a low of 67,994 in the early 1970?s to reach
above MUR.900,000 in 2009. The share of the tourism sector as a percentage of GDP also
increased from about 1%-2% in the 1970?s to 18% in 2009. As far as earnings are concerned, we
note that tourism earnings, generally kept on increasing save in the year 2009 when earnings fell
as the world went into recession and demand for our tourism services fell slightly from our main
markets from Europe. We append below diagrams that will enable us to show the link between
tourism earnings and the evolution of the euro.
19
From the above diagrams, it is clear that tourism earnings are rather insensitive to changes in
euro. Despite the fall in euro in 2005, 2007 and 2009, which was expected to make travelling
and holiday in Mauritius dearer, we note that tourism earnings increased in the years 2005 and
20
2007 with the exemption of the year 2009, which is considered as an exception as the world was
experiencing the financial crisis and demand fell slightly for our tourism services from our main
markets (Europe).
4.5. Statistical Linkage between the USD and Imports.
Mauritian imports have traditionally been paid in US dollars. Generally, the USD has appreciated
against the MUR from MUR.27.76/USD in 2001to MUR.30.2902/USD in 2009, which partly
explains the increased import expenditure over the years. We append below diagrams showing
the evolution of imports as well as the US dollar/ MUR exchange rate.
21
In addition to improved standard of living, the rising trend in imports expenditure in Mauritius is
also explained by the weakening of the rupee vis-à-vis the US dollar over the years. This meant
increased cost of production for our exporters, chiefly for those in the textile industry. The latter
explains why our competitiveness for Textile is gradually being eroded by low cost producing
economies of BRIC, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and others and the balance of trade deficits experienced
in the years under review.
22
Part 5: ECONOMETRIC ANALYSIS
5.1. Methodology and data.
The data were obtained from Bank of Mauritius Annual Reports, and monthly bulletin and
website, from The Central Statistical Office and from the Bank of Mauritius Annual reports,
International Monetary Fund, World Bank database and www.oanda.com. The sample date
starts in 2001 and ends in 2009 for the simple reason of data unavailability. We make use of
yearly data and Time series analysis shall be made. Many models have been used in the
literature as regards the effect of exchange rate movements on exports, albeit the findings
depend on sample period, frequency and disaggregation of data, measures of volatility as well
as whether the economy is developed or developing.
5.2. The Baseline Model
Inspired by the model developed by Saviddes (1992), a two country model of international
trade, we model the impact of exchange rate movements on exports. The latter model assumes
that the demand for exports are a function of real foreign income and relative prices (foreign
prices) as follows:
DD = DD Y f P fX X ( , x ) 1
Where DDx is the demand for exports, , Yf is the level of real foreign income, Pfx if the relative
prices of exports abroad where
P f fx = PE / EP
23
depicts the domestic price of exports; E depicts the exchange rate in nominal terms which
pertains to the amount of local currency per unit of foreign currency and Pf is the price level in
foreign currency.
On the other side of the spectrum, the supply of exports are a function of domestic relative
prices, exchange rate volatility and the terms of trade and is given by:
SS X = SS X ( Px , V , TOT ) 2
Where SSX is the supply of exports; Px is the relative price of exports given by
P x = PE / P
P is the domestic price level; V is the exchange rate volatility and TOT is the terms of trade.
Besides,
P f x = Px / Q
is the relative price of exports where
Q = EP f / P
Denotes the real exchange rate.
Converting the above equations into log form with the exception of V, which may take negative
values and replace Pfx by Px/Q, equations 1 and 2 above are as follows:
24
DD = ? 0 + ? 1 y fx ? ? 2 p x + ? 3 q + ? 3
SS x = ? 0 + ? 1 p x + ? 2V + ? 3 tot + ? 4
Where ? and ? are stochastic error terms and are uncorrelated. If equilibrium is assumed in
the export, market
? 1 1
P 0
? 2 ?
x = + x ? V ?
3
tot ? ? 5
?1 ?1 ? 1 ? 1 ? 1
Replacing equation 5 into equation 3 and solve for x to obtain a reduced form equation, we
have
?
x = 0
? 1+ ? 2? 0 ? 1?1 ? 3? 1 ? 2? 3 ? 2?+ y f ? q + 2tot + V + ? 6
? ? ? ? ?
Where ? = ? 2 + ?1 and ? = ? + ?1? / ?
Equation 6 tells us that there a country?s exports is a linear function of its trading partner?s real
income, real exchange rate, terms of trade and exchange rate volatility.
25
5.3. Our model.
Based on the foregoing model, we formulate a behavioural model of exports for Mauritius that
shall be a linear function of its trading partner real income, real exchange rate in Euro and USD
as most export revenues are in Euro and raw materials purchased meant for exports are in US
dollar, the terms of trade and exchange rate volatility. Our model pins down to the following:
?
x 0
?
= 1+
? 2? 0 ?+ 1
?1 ?y f 3
? 1 ?q 2
? 3 ?o 2
?
? + 2t t + V + ? 6
? ? ? ? ?
Where
? = ?2 + ?1 and = ? + (?1? ) / ?
Equation 6 depicts that exports are a linear function of trading partners? real income, real
exchange rate, terms of trade and exchange rate volatility. To obtain a function showing a
system of behavioural demand and supply functions, we reformulate equation 6 as follows:
E x = ? 0 + ? 1Y
f ? ? 2 q1 ? ? 3 q 2 + ? 3 tot + ? 4V + ? 7
Equation is estimated two times as follows:
E T = ? 0 + ? 1 y
f ? ? 2 q1 ? ? 3 q 2 + ? 3 tot + ? 4 + ? 8 where ET shows
receipts from tourism earnings and
E p = ? 0 + ? 1 y
f
e ? ? 2 q1 ? ? 3 q 2 + ? 3 tot + ?z 4V + ? 9 where EPZ
shows receipts from Export Processing Zone.
26
Where q1 represents- REER in EURO and q2 represents REER in USD, TOT is the terms of trade, V
is volatility.
5.4. Definition of variables
The following variables are employed in this analysis: Exports as depicted by receipts from
tourism earnings and Export Processing Zone, Trading partners? real income, Terms of Trade and
real effective exchange rate volatility.
The period average nominal exchange rate is employed to compute real effective exchange rate.
We also use annual weighted trade for three main trading partners FOR Mauritius to immune
ourselves from misleading inferences pertaining to the evolution of Mauritius? extent of
competitiveness and to take into account the dynamic nature of trade patterns between
Mauritius and its trading partners. Following Patrick Imam et al (2008), Real Effective Exchange
Rate (REER) is defined as follows:
3
REER ? ? ?= w e p* it * it it ? ?
p
i ? dt ?
Where eit depicts the bilateral nominal exchange rate, wit is the ith trading partner trade weight
and pit and pdt are the trading partner?s and domestic index of retail prices respectively.
5.5. Econometric Analysis.
In this section, we carry out Augmented Dicker Fuller and Phillips ?Perron tests for unit root. We
then proceed with an brief introduction of the GARCH model of exchange rate volatility,
perform some cointegration tests as per Johansen (1991) procedure. Several hypotheses are
made and we conclude this part by analysis of our results and interpretations. For estimation
purposes, we shall make use of Eviews 4.1 software.
27
5.5.1. Unit Root Tests
Augmented Dicker Fuller and Phillips-Perron tests are carried out using Eviews 4.1 to detect the
presence/absence of stationarity in our data series. The results are appended in the table that
follows. We note that the data were non-stationary for the period 1989-2009 considered at the
5% significance level. As a result, the data is differenced once to obtain a stationary data set.
Table (a) Unit Root Tests Results for EPZ Exports Equation
a). Augmented Dicker Fuller (ADF) Without trend With Trend
Levels
Log Ex -1.49 -2.76
Log q1 -1.87 -2.67
Log q2 -0.63 -3.12
Log Yf -1.77 -1.52
Log TOT -1.65 -1.67
Log V -1.21 -1.33
First Difference
Log Ex -4.27** -4.28**
Log q1 -4.69** -4.88**
Log q2 -4.83** -4.61*
Log Yf -4.23** -4.93**
Log TOT -4.53** -4.54**
Log V -4.65** -4.32**
Source: Eviews4.1 output
28
Table (b) Unit Root Test Results for EPZ equation
a). Phillips-Perron results Without trend With Trend
Levels
Log Ex -2.39 -3.65
Log q1 -2.67 -2.43
Log q2 -0.54 -2.29
Log Yf -1.57 -1.59
Log TOT -1.56 -1.72
Log V -1.71 -1.66
First Difference
Log Ex -8.88** -9.78**
Log q1 -5.87** -7.76**
Log q2 -3.94** -3.46*
Log Yf -6.73** -5.98**
Log TOT -6.93** -5.76*
Log V -7.80** -7.06*
Source: Eviews 4.1 Output
From the above output, * indicates the absence of stationarity at the5% significance level while
** indicates same at the 1% significance level.
29
Table (c )- Unit Root Tests for Tourism Earnings Equation
a). Augmented Dicker Fuller (ADF) Without trend With Trend
Levels
Log Ex -1.24 -2.65
Log q1 -1.73 -2.71
Log q2 -0.60 -3.09
Log Yf -1.73 -1.41
Log TOT -1.59 -1.70
Log V -1.20 -1.31
First Difference
Log Ex -4.11** -4.09**
Log q1 -4.01** -4.00**
Log q2 -4.32** -4.11*
Log Yf -4.30** -4.38**
Log TOT -4.36** -4.47**
Log V -4.58** -4.24*
30
Table (d)
a). Phillips Perron Tests Without trend With Trend
Levels
Log Ex -1.59 -2.67
Log q1 -1.71 -2.72
Log q2 -0.67 -3.32
Log Yf -1.71 -1.52
Log TOT -1.54 -1.78
Log V -1.59 -1.62
First Difference
Log Ex -4.31** -4.39**
Log q1 -4.58** -4.62**
Log q2 -4.63** -4.68*
Log Yf -4.32** -4.86**
Log TOT -4.12** -4.42**
Log V -4.50** -4.31*
From the above output, * indicates the absence of stationarity at the 5% significance level while
** indicates same at the 1% significance level.
31
5.5.2. The Lagrange Multiplier ARCH Test Results.
The Lagrange Multiplier ARCH test is employed to test the ARCH effects in the real effective
exchange rate process. The latter is a requirement of using the GARCH method for this
purpose.The REER is assumed to follow a first order autoregressive process, depicted by AR(1)
and displayed in the following equation, which is thereafter run.
? log( REER ) = ? 0 + ?1? log( REER ) + ? Equation 10 t t ?1
Where ? is the error term, assumed not to be correlated and REER is the real effective
exchange rate. The LM ARCH is found to be significant at the 5% significance level with Chi2
statistic of 4.98 as opposed to a critical value of 4.12. The significance is confirmed with a F-
statistic of 7.19 against a critical value of 3.21. Therefore, the REER follows an ARCH (1,1)
process, which enables us to produce the GARCH (1,1) dataset as a measure of REER volatility.
Given that we have assumed that the error terms are not correlated, the GARCH process of
equation 10 is as follows:
h 2 2t = ? + ? ? 20 1 t ?1 + ? 2 h t ?1 Equation 11.
From equation 11, h2t is the time variant conditional variance of the REER, ? 2t?1 is the squared
residuals obtained from equation 10 and the ? s are parameters to be estimated.
The results for the GARCH model of REER is shown in the following table.
32
Table (e). GARCH Model Results
Mean Equation of the real exchange rate rate process (? Log (REER))
Variable Coefficient t-statistic
Constant 0.75 1.46
? Log (REER)t-1 0.77 5.23
GARCH equation of the real exchange rate volatility
Variable Coefficient t-statistic
Constant -0.099 0.83
? 2 ?1 1.78 2.45 t
h2t-1 0.43 1.83
Source: Eviews4.1 output
From Table (e), the mean equation is synonymous to equation 10 wherein the REER is a function
of its lagged value. On the other hand, the GARCH equation is for the equation 11. In essence,
we may interprete the above results as prediction of the current Real exchange rate variance by
the Mauritian exporters by producing a weighted mean of a long term mean (the constant in the
GARCH equation), the forecast variance from last period (the GARCH term) and the information
about volatility of the REER observed in the previous period( the ARCH term). As such, the
forecast series h2t from the GARCH function provides a suitable measure of REER volatility.
33
5.5.3. Johansen Cointegration Tests and Estimate of the Error Correction Model (ECM)
In the absence on non-stationarity in the series, we conduct Johansen (1991) cointegration tests
and same are appended in the tables that follows:
Table f: Johansen Cointegration Results for EPZ equation -Cointegration analysis (2001-2009)
Eigen Values Trace Statistic 5% critical value 1% critical value Hypothethised
number of
cointegrating
equations
0.5647 69.7831 62.28 70.56 None*
0.6849 35.1287 40.79 56.29 At most 2
0.3359 15.8282 22.35 30.23 At most 4
0.1724 7.3097 9.23 18.79 At most 1
0.0325 5.3627 8.72 17.67 At most 3
0.2837 0.8724 4.32 4.18 None*
Table g: Johansen Cointegration Results for Tourism Earnings equation -Cointegration analysis
(1989-2009)
Eigen Values Trace Statistic 5% critical value 1% critical value Hypothethised
number of
cointegrating
equations
0.4235 69.3256 66.74 74.05 None*
0.3678 42.2093 45.19 52.34 At most 4
0.2707 19.7829 27.46 33.53 At most 3
0.1498 3.5425 13.29 17.96 At most 1
0.1765 4.3290 12.78 16.78 At most 2
0.0314 0.6523 2.64 5.52 None*
34
The series in Table f is of Exports of Textile Products depicted as Export Processing Zone(EEPZ),
Foreign Income (Yf), Real Effective Exchange Rate (REER), Terms of Trade (TOT), Exchange rate
volatility (V). The series in Table g is of Tourism Earnings (ET), Foreign Income (Yf), Real Effective
Exchange Rate (REER), Terms of Trade (TOT), Exchange rate volatility (V). * shows that the null
hypothesis has not been accepted at the 5% significance level. The trace test indicates 1
cointegrating equations at the 5% level for both cases.
Wald Test from the Eviews output gives a Chi2 statistic of 106.26, depicting the presence of
cointegration. Given that cointegration exists, we estimate an Error Correction Model in the
following equations to take into account of spurious regression. The advantage of the Error
Correction Model is that it helps to institute relationships between the short run and long run
approaches to econometric modeling.
n n n
?Log(EEPZ ) = ? 0 + ?? ? log(E ) ?1 + ?? ? Y flog( ) ?1 + ? ? log(EUREER) - i EPZ t i t ? i t?1
i=0 i=0 i=0
n n
?? ? log(USDREER) +i t?1 ?? ? log(TOT ) 1 -i t?
i=0 i=0
n
?? ?V ?1 +?ECM ? + ?DUM 1 + ? Equation 12 for EPZ i t t i i
i=0
n n n
?Log(ET ) = ? 0 + ?? ? log(ET ) ?1 + ?? ? log(Y f ) ?1 + ? ? log(EUREER) ?1 - i t i t ? i t
i=0 i=0 i=0
n n
?? ? log(USDREER) +i t?1 ?? ? log(TOT ) 1 -i t?
i=0 i=0
n
?? ?V ?1 +?ECM ? + ?DUM 1 + ? Equation 13 for Tourism Earnings i t t i i
i=0
In both equations, ? on the Error Correction Model provides the speed of adjustment to long
run equilibrium. In fact, reform to the exchange rate system to a managed float and other
measures in the 1990?s in Mauritius were designed to provide a stimulus to our export sector.
Also, various changes relative to the performance of the sector were in place, viz, various
bilateral agreements and extensive marketing of the tourism sector, data of which are not
35
available, which substantiate the inclusion of a Dummy- DUM1 , in the equation ( which takes
value of 1 in the 1990?s and zero otherwise).
5.5.4. Formulation of the Hypotheses
The link between export of EPZ sector and exchange rate movements as well as exchange rate
and Tourism may be determined through the following hypotheses.
(i) Negative relationship between EPZ Exports and exchange rate movements such
that REER Volatility tends to curtail exports in EPZ exports in Mauritius.
Similarly, same relationship is expected between tourism earnings exchange
rate and tourism earnings, providing a negative sign for the volatility coefficient
in both equations.
(ii) The effect of a real depreciating Mauritian rupee is to boost export earnings
both in the EPZ and tourism sectors as the domestic price of exports become
relatively more attractive. Also, a sound macroeconomic environment will also
help boost exports in both the EPZ and tourism sector. We, thus expect a
positive the REER to have a positive impact on both EPZ exports and Tourism
earnings.
(iii) The level of foreign income is also a factor influencing exports such that an
increase in income in Mauritian trading partners? economy will increase demand
for goods and services not only in their own country but also our exports. Hence
a positive coefficient is expected between real foreign income and exports of
both EPZ products and tourism services.
(iv) A favourable Terms of Trade is expected to promote international trade, and
thus we expect a positive coefficient for the TOT in the ECM equation
36
5.5.5. Econometric Results and Interpretation for EPZ Equation.
Equations 12 and 13 are run using Eviews4.1. We append below an abridged version of the
results obtained.
Table h: Parsimonious error correction mechanism( Error Correction Model of EPZ Exports
Dependent variable ?EPZ Exports
Variable Coefficient t-statistic Prob
Constant 0.034 0.412 0.822
?log(Ex)t-2 0.243 2.873 0.094
?log (EUREER)t 1.497 3.423 0.002
?log (USDREER)t -1.546 2.961 0.001
?Vt -2.871 -2.234 0.045
ECMt-1 -0.793 -3.234 0.000
Adj R2=0.53
D-w=1.87
AIC= 1.73
SIC=1.93
S.E= 0.61
F-Statistic= 8.92 (0.00)
Diagnostics
Normality=0.797 ARCH= 2.48 (0.12)
LM(2)=0.73(0.82) White=13.21(0.08)
Chow=4.25 (0.63) RESET(1)= 0.15(0.76)
Source: Eviews4.1 output
37
The above table shows results obtained from Eviews4.1 output. Note that TOT and, Real Foreign
Income and the Dummy Variable do not form part of the regression results for the simple
reason of their joint insignificance and has thus been eliminated.
The Adj R2 means that the model explains 53% of the parsimonious equation, which is
considered acceptable when first differenced. We also note that there is a very strong negative
relationship between volatility and EPZ exports with the coefficient for ?Vt at
-2.871 at the 5% significance level, consistent with the findings of Sauer and Bohara (2001),
Clark, Tamirisa and Wei (2004).This means that for Mauritian exporters are adversely affected
in terms of export earnings in case of high volatility of real exchange rates as they are unable to
immune themselves from the adverse movements in real exchange rates for the reasons that
they do not engage in hedging transactions. The results convey that the exporters might
adversely react to maintain their margins by incomplete pass through, raising their prices by the
equivalent depreciation of the real exchange rate but they may face the risk of losing fully their
competitiveness from emerging economies like the BRIC ( Brazil, Russia, India and China).
The speed of adjustment to equilibrium is also significant at 5% significance level and shows a
negative sign, as anticipated. The coefficient of ECMt-1 is -0.793 means that, 79.3% of adjustment
to equilibrium occurs during the first period. Also, the REER for both Euro and USD are
significant at the 5% significance level and positive as expected. The coefficient of EUREER
means that the contemporaneous effect is important in boosting exports as shown by the size of
the coefficient of about 1.5% adjustment response of exports to the incentive structure of real
exchange rate depreciation. The positive sign for the EUREER is 1.497, which means that there is
a positive link between the price of euro and EPZ exports. In other words, the result also shows
that a real appreciation of the Euro will boost EPZ export while a real depreciation of the Euro
adversely affects exports. This has always been the case in Mauritius. For example, presently,
the Textile Sector is in the brink of a severe blow and possible collapse. The real depreciation of
the Euro vis-à-vis the Mauritian rupee is posing problems for local exporters. It has been
estimated by Mauritian Economists that local textile exporters might forego £1 per unit for their
products for some enterprises.
Similarly, the coefficient of USDREER is negative and at 1.546 suggesting that a real appreciation
of the USD vis-à-vis the Mauritian rupee makes imports in USD dearer and raises the cost of
38
production of firms in the EPZ sector. As a result of increased cost of production,
competitiveness is eroded on the world markets characterized by fierce competition from
emerging players from China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Brazil and other Asian economies. Thus,
a real appreciation of the USD vis-à-vis the dollar adversely impact on Mauritian exports.
5.5.6. Econometric Results and Interpretation for Tourism Earnings Equation.
Table h: Parsimonious error correction mechanism ( Error Correction Model of Tourism Earnings)
Dependent variable ?Tourism Earnings
Variable Coefficient t-statistic Prob
Constant 0.042 0.523 0.729
?log(Ex)t-2 0.436 2.431 0.046
?log (EUREER)t 1.253 2.987 0.099
?log (USDREER)t -1.234 2.873 0.088
?Vt -2.276 -2.017 0.037
ECMt-1 -0.631 -2.987 0.000
Adj R2=0.47
D-w=1.45
AIC= 1.63
SIC=1.23
S.E= 0.53
F-Statistic= 5.87 (0.00)
Diagnostics
Normality=0.812 ARCH= 2.21 (0.17)
LM(2)=0.76(0.815) White=13.21(0.08)
Chow=4.12 (0.64) RESET(1)= 0.11(0.69)
Source: Eviews4.1 output
39
The above table shows results obtained from Eviews4.1 output. Note that TOT and, Real Foreign
Income and the Dummy Variable do not form part of the regression results for the simple
reason of their joint insignificance and has thus been eliminated. The Adj R2 means that the
model explains only 47% of the parsimonious equation, which is considered acceptable when
first differenced. We also note that there is a very strong negative relationship between
volatility and Tourism earnings with the coefficient for ?Vt at -2.276 at the 5% significance level.
This means that Mauritian tourism operators are adversely affected in terms of earnings in case
of high volatility of real exchange rates as despite the fact that arrivals may remain unchanged/
do not decrease earnings may fall following a real appreciation of the Mauritian rupee.
However, in the long run, foreigners may find that our local currency is overvalued and may
switch to alternative cheaper destinations, which suggests that given the elasticity of the
demand for the tourism services, operators cannot raise their prices and suffer in terms of their
earnings.
The speed of adjustment to equilibrium is also significant at 5% significance level and shows a
negative sign, as anticipated. The coefficient of ECMt-1 is -0.793 means that, 79.3% of adjustment
to equilibrium occurs during the first period. Also, the REER for both Euro and USD are
significant at the 5% significance level and positive as expected. The coefficient of EUREER
means that the contemporaneous effect is important in boosting tourism earnings as shown by
the size of the coefficient of about 1.2% adjustment response of non traditional exports to the
incentive structure of real exchange rate depreciation. The positive sign for the EUREER is 1.253,
which means that there is a positive link between the price of euro and Tourism earnings. In
other words, the result also shows that a real appreciation of the Euro will boost tourism
earnings while a real depreciation of the Euro adversely affects the earnings. However, in
practice, this has not always be the case. During the first quarter of 2010, it has been noticed
that despite the euro depreciation, tourism earnings were on the rise, albeit the full effects on
the tourism sector is yet to be seen. Mauritian analysts from various sectors are of the view that
the clientele shift towards the mid-market will continue, and a weakening euro will add
additional pressure but the faltering euro rubs salt in the wound. However, per the Central
Statistical Office, is backing a 12,5% hike in revenues, relying on Bank of Mauritius figures.
According to them, the receipts for the current year will be around Rs 40,15 billion. As regards
tourists arrivals, the CSO predict that they will grow by 5% reaching 915 000 on the back of the
forthcoming world cup in South Africa.
40
Part 6: Conclusions and Suggestions for future policies
As an overall recapitulation, we have examined the effect on EPZ exports and tourism of
exchange rate fluctuations in Mauritius by employing an Error Correction Model. The results so
obtained are in line with the theoretical foundations. In fact for both equations, the REER and
volatility are both economically and statistically insignificant at the 5% level of significance. Yet,
we find that foreign income, contrary to the law of income elasticity of demand, is both
economically and statistically insignificant and thus has been removed from the final equations.
Same was found for the Terms and Trade and the dummy variables.
The above results have important insights to offer in terms of future policies with regards to
exchange rate management, macroeconomic policies and management.
It is clear that unstable exchange rates shall impede the Mauritian competitiveness both for the
EPZ sector and the Tourism sector. We have seen that Mauritius is a price taker for its exports
on the international scene as it is facing fierce competition among emerging economies like the
BRIC, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and other Asian economies. As such trade policy should be geared
towards overall macroeconomic stability and elimination of anti-export bias constraints.
It is also to important to point out that a devaluation of the rupee at this stage is not
appropriate as we are unsure about the future path of the euro and whether the devaluation
will help to sustain long run comparative advantage. I do not believe as well that devaluation
should be a last resort measure to be taken when all the measures discussed below fail to
improve the situation. Indeed, a devaluation of the currency would shake foreign and local
investor confidence in Mauritius, which can badly affect investment levels in the country. Why
risk the f