Historical Sterling/Dollar Exchange Rates

1. Sterling/Dollar Exchange Rates during the 1956 Suez Crisis

Klug, Adam and Smith, Gregor (1999) Suez and Sterling 1956, Explorations in Economic History 36, 181-203.

Sterling exchange rates were collected from the New York Times for 1 June 1956 to 31 January 1957. Prices are found in the box ``Foreign Exchange Rates'' and are closing values. The rates are the spot cable rate, 30, 60 and 90-day forward rates, and the transferable rate, decimalized, in U.S. dollars. Data are daily. There are no quotations on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays listed in the text. French franc quotations were collected from the same source.

Sterling spot and one-month forward rates, for 1 June 1956 to 31 January 1957, also were collected from The Economist. Prices are found in the box ``London Closing Exchange Rates and Gold Price.'' Differences between the rates in London and New York could be arbitraged away, for the U.K. belonged to the dollar and sterling areas and the European Payments Union. But we studied prices from both markets because (i) the London market was open on Saturdays; (ii) the London market closed earlier each day because of the time-zone difference; and (iii) The Economist reports a range of values whereas the New York Times reports a single value. We averaged the London values, which produces a smoother series than the New York series.

Market intervention by the Bank of England and other information on daily reserves were collected from BoE C8/9 Foreign Exchange Dealers Reports in the archives of the Bank of England.

The data are in a text file, suezdata.txt.

2. Sterling/Dollar Exchange Rates prior to the 1925 return to the gold standard

Smith, Gregor and R. Todd Smith (1990) Stochastic Process Switching and the Return to Gold, 1925. Economic Journal 100, 164-175.

Weekly data on the sterling/dollar spot, one-month forward, and three-month forward rates from 1921 until 1925. The data were originally tabulated in Paul Einzig (1937) The Theory of Forward Exchange, London: Macmillan.

The data are in a text file, einzig.txt.

3. Sterling/Dollar Exchange Rates during the US Civil War and Resumption, 1862-1879

Smith, Gregor, and R. Todd Smith (1997) Greenback/Gold Returns and Expectations of Resumption 1862-1879 Journal of Economic History 57, 697-717.

Daily gold prices (equivalently the dollar/sterling exchange rate) from 1862 to 1878, tabulated by Wesley Mitchell in table 1 of the appendix to Gold, Wages, and Prices under the Greenback Standard (1908) University of California Publications in Economics, volume 1, Berkeley: The University Press.

The data are in a text file, mitchell.txt.