Asian Currency Unit: Searching for Optimal Currency Basket Structure

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2015-1-40-51

E. rapova, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation (

Abstract. The article examines the prospects of monetary integration in East Asia and the specific issue of the Asian Currency Unit (ACU) that could potentially become a core element of Asian monetary integration in the long run. The research explores main initiatives underlying financial cooperation and key obstacles hampering monetary integration in the region. The concept of Asian currency unit was introduced by the East Asian countries as one of the mechanisms aimed to ensure regional financial stability. Being a weighted average of regional currencies ACU is highly negatively affected by the volatility of Asian currencies’ exchange rates. That’s why the main aim of the article is to find the “optimal ACU currency basket structure” with minimal variance able to deliver stability in intra-regional exchange rates. The paper offers the author’s attempt to answer three main questions. First, what kind of criteria/macroeconomic indicators must underlie the ACU basket computation. Second, what national currencies should be included in this basket. Third, what weights are to be attributed to the national currencies for achieving an optimal basket structure. The research considers five alternative configurations of the ACU basket. The best one should be neither too rigid nor too volatile; it must be a compromise solution meeting interests of the main regional actors. Initial estimates of the ACU currency weights are based on the RIETI concept that is based on consideration of three main economic indicators, namely, the member countries shares in the aggregate GDP, foreign trade and outward investment. The author complemented the basic methodology by an extra criterion – countries’ shares in aggregate international reserves. The final conclusions on the optimal ACU basket composition are made through the analysis of the aggregated variation coefficient for each alternative set of the national currencies. The coefficient is calculated according to the original method developed by the author. The calculations are based on the national currencies’ monthly exchange rates data generated for the period January 2009 – February 2014. The analysis results in proposition of an optimal ACU basket structure with the calculated optimal countries’ weights. The author gives the recommendations for higher efficiency and regional financial stability.

Keywords: Asian currency unit, monetary integration, financial regionalism, multicurrency basket, ASEAN, ASEAN+3, East Asia

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For citation:
Arapova E. Asian Currency Unit: Searching for Optimal Currency Basket Structure. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2015, no. 1, pp. 40-51.

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