EXCHANGE RATE AND TRADE BALANCE IN GHANA- TESTING THE VALIDITY OF THE MARSHALL LERNER CONDITION (Published)
Currency depreciation has been lauded as a means of improving a country’s trade balance borrowing from the Marshall Lerner Condition that the sum of the elasticity or the coefficient of the trade balance in respect of the exchange rate be greater or equal to unity. This paper examined exchange rate and trade balance in Ghana testing the validity of the Marshall Lerner Condition at aggregate level. The data spanned from 1980-2013 sourced from World Development Indicators. Co integration and vector error correction mechanism (VECM) was used to estimate the short as well as the long run parameters. The result of the findings showed that real effective exchange is negatively linked to trade balance in long run. In the short run the lag one coefficient shows a positive sign implying that trade balance deteriorate in the short run due to some contractual obligations already signed by the domestic country with the trading partners. However in the long run the coefficient shows that a depreciation of cedi all things being equal will lead to an improvement in Ghana’s trade balance. Though the Marshall Lerner condition is not met in Ghana because of the REER coefficient less than unity but evidence from the result indicates that depreciation can be used to improve on the trade balance. The estimated coefficient of the error correction term is -0.3696 which implies that the speed of adjustment is approximately 37. percent per quarter. This negative and significant coefficient is an indication that co integrating relationship exists among the variables. The paper recommends that Ghana should devalue its currency to move from the deficit side of the J curve to the surplus side since evidence from the result shows that depreciation or devaluation can substantially improves the trade balance in the long run.