“The transformation of national segmented financial markets into integrated parts of the global financial market – the globalisation process – involves complex cross-border and cross-sectoral integration in which capital movements and financial services are key determinants.” (Oxelheim, 1996, p. 21) The large multi national corporations (MNC’s) play a major role in this transformation process, as it is these organisations that have a very wide variety of funding options. A number of the large corporations engage in arbitrage between various international markets that are less efficient and in those that are more efficient.
Financial markets in a country compete with one another and with the other markets around the globe, they are all connected. The government usually plays an important role in the national financial markets, as it has the power to increase or decrease money supply within the economy. The government usually uses the central bank of the country to perform these operations.
The major financial markets are the equity markets, credit market and the foreign exchange market.
The government and monetary authorities like the central bank, prudential regulation authorities and other similar organisations of the country are responsible for market regulations and supervision.
The global financial system consists of the interaction between various national financial systems. Buyer and sellers of certain financial instruments trade across their national borders. There have been a number of different factors that have influenced the globalisation process, these factors have led to economies forming some new regulations and the deregulation of the current capital controls and factors like market efficiency, flexibility and credibility.
Imperfections in the domestic financial markets are what gave way to the development of Euro markets. Global finance encloses an odd combination of the most perfect (where there is free trade and less deregulation) and imperfect (where there is high regulation to protect the local market from losing out to the outside markets due to competition) money and capital markets of the world.
Most countries interfere in the foreign exchange market to make their currencies more stable by changing various policies and buying and selling foreign currencies. It should be understood that fluctuations in foreign exchange markets are due to the economic conditions and policies of the country. Giddy says “Currency markets are efficient, but many national capital markets are not; these national markets are partially, but not wholly, linked to the global market.” (Giddy, 1994, p. 6)
From the past it can be seen that the increase in economic integration and the redistribution of financial resources within the region were important factors. Borrowing from another country was a significant force. “Economic integration and regional redistribution generated competitive pressure, which made a de jure deregulation more or less unavoidable in most countries.” (Oxelheim, 1996, p. 27)
Financial innovations like developing a number of new financial products and instruments have been made possible by the developments in information technology. According to Jensen (1989), financial innovations have in general had a positive impact on the economy, as they have improved corporate access to capital and communication between management and corporate stakeholders. However, they have also reduced the usefulness of current international statistics in the monitoring of international capital flows.
The core of the global market is the Eurocurrency and Eurobond markets. The increasing number of financial products like futures, options, interest rate swaps, and various other financial instruments used by participants in the international financial market, have helped in overcoming market imperfections in the global market.
The Foreign-Exchange market
This market establishes the price of each (domestic) currency in terms of other (foreign) currencies. Currencies are bought and sold in exchange for one another throughout the day over the telephone market by individuals, companies, securities firms, and central banks, all of which deal with the foreign-exchange traders at commercial banks.
The actions of the governments buying and selling foreign currencies affect the prices of the currency and should be anticipated by the foreign exchange traders.
Residents of certain countries may prefer to hold assets denominated in foreign currencies if their home currency is not stable due to high and variable inflation (value of domestic currency compared to the others may be poor). Hence, the residents of these countries might prefer to hold their assets in foreign currency denominated assets in order to protect their real wealth.
The foreign exchange balances may offset some financial risks. “Foreign currency denominated assets may serve as a direct hedge for the exchange risk associated with anticipated foreign currency liabilities.” (Levich, 1998, p.67) This would be good for the economy, this would offset some of the financial risk.
Another view is that domestic residents may feel that certain foreign currency assets are undervalued and hence may purchase these assets converting the currency to earn a higher return. Residents would use the domestic currency for all transactions with in the country, they may desire to hold foreign currency as an asset or store of value.
The value of all currencies is not determined by the transactions in the foreign exchange market. Some currencies are pegged to other currencies, for example the Malaysian Ringgit is pegged to the US Dollar. A number of the governments influence the value of their currencies by open market buying or selling, hence push the price up or down.