Investigating Statistical Features of the FX Bid Ask Series in a Small Economy with a Sizeable Informal Economy

Elmira Kushta, Erarda Vuka, Dode Prenga, Ines Dika


The assessment of the effect of the informal use of a foreign currency on the corresponding FX rates toward the national currency is a very difficult task, requiring direct calculation and modeling. It comes mostly because of the unknown quantity of foreign money used in the informal sector, but also because of the lack of quantitative calculation models. To overcome this gap and to realize a qualitative description of this effect in a concrete economic environment, we propose herein a comparative analysis between the behavior of two typical FX rate series recorded in the Albanian currency market, the Euro-ALL and USD-ALL, providing that the Euro is used commonly as a national currency substitute in the informal economy and the USD is not. So, we have evidenced that the un-stationarity degree of the Bid and Ask spread distribution for the Euro-ALL FX series is higher than for the corresponding USD-ALL case, but with a lower variance. Those features occurring simultaneously can be explained by assuming that informal use of the Euro acts as an additional perturbation on the FX system, imposing high nonstationary, but at the same time it provides reservoir or source features for the money disbalances, reducing the average fluctuations. Next, the depth of the market measured by the average Bid-Ask Spread has resulted in a smaller price for the Euro currency, indicating a lower cost of the transactions and reinforcing the assumption regarding the distribution’s in-stationarity features. Based on those indicatory findings, we propose to realize indirect evidence for our assumptions by comparing the reproduction of the corresponding distribution using autoregressive models. In this case, we have evidenced that the distribution of the FX Euro-ALL spread can be reproduced better if we include in standard ARCHX (m, n, p) models a term that mimics the informality measure. When applying the same procedure for the USD-ALL spread, the resulting distribution has not matched equally well with the original ones. Those findings have been discussed in the framework of an alternative description of the effect of the informal use of foreign currency in a small economy with a sizeable informal sector, which convene our current system under analysis, but we believe that they can be applicable for similar economic environments.


Doi: 10.28991/HEF-2024-05-01-02

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Exchange Rates; q-Gaussian; Autoregressive Model; Informal Economy.


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DOI: 10.28991/HEF-2024-05-01-02


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