Foreign Exchange Queues, Informal Traders, and a Zero Premium in the Black Market: A Cape Verdean Puzzle


Jan-Peter Olters

Publication Date:

August 1, 1999

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Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF.The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate


During 1996–98, several indicators hinted at the apparent unsustainability of Cape Verde’s exchange rate peg. The country, faced with a considerable backlog of approved but unmet applications for foreign currencies, tolerated a parallel market. Street traders, however, demanded only negligible premiums (if any at all) for foreign exchange. By integrating the emigrants’ transfer decisions into a basic Mundell-Fleming-type model, the author conjectures that this puzzle can be explained with the increasing use of transfer channels outside the banking system, leading to unrecorded inflows of foreign exchange. Analysis of the relevant balance of payments data appears to support this result.


Working Paper No. 1999/110



Publication Date:

August 1, 1999



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