News & Analysis
News & Analysis

Money in Motion: The Factors Influencing Currency Appreciation and Depreciation

21 August 2023 By Mike Smith


Currency appreciation refers to the increase in value of one currency relative to another currency or basket of currencies. Depreciation refers to the opposite scenario where a currency loses value against another.

When a currency appreciates, it takes more units of other currencies to purchase one unit of the appreciating currency, and of course in depreciation the reverse is the case. These have implications for the economy and, of course, for those who trade Forex.

Various influences can impact on this phenomenon and this article briefly outlines some of these factors that influence the appreciation and depreciation of a currency and its implications.

Factors Contributing to Currency Appreciation and Depreciation

  1. Interest Rates:
    • Higher Interest Rates: If a country’s central bank raises interest rates, or if market rates increase, the currency often appreciates because it offers better returns on deposits and other interest-sensitive investments. This effect may be exaggerated if the rate rise occurs unexpectedly. Of all factors discussed, this is arguably the primary influence.
    • Interest Rate Expectations: Even the expectation of higher interest rates in the future, spurred by hawkish statements from central banks and economists, can lead to currency appreciation. Conversely, if a dovish central bank stance exists or interest rates decrease, this is likely to result in currency depreciation.
  2. Economic Growth
    • Strong economic performance with robust GDP growth can attract foreign investment, leading to increased demand for the currency and, consequently, appreciation. Conversely, currency depreciation is often the result when economic growth falls short of expectations.
  3. Inflation
    • Lower inflation compared to other countries can make a currency more attractive, as it preserves the real value of assets denominated in that currency. Higher inflation can have the opposite effect. However, this must be considered in the context of potential interest rate interventions.
  4. Trade Balance
    • If a country exports more than it imports, thereby demonstrating a trade surplus, there will be higher demand for its currency, leading to appreciation. A trade deficit may result in currency depreciation.
  5. Capital Flows
    • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) can also be influential. An influx of foreign capital into stocks, bonds, real estate, or businesses can increase demand for a country’s currency, and of course vice versa should there be a pulling of such out of markets or businesses.
  6. Political Stability and Economic Policy
    • Sustained political stability and responsible fiscal and monetary policies can boost confidence in an economy and its currency, leading to appreciation. The reverse can have a detrimental impact on currency valuation.
  7. Global Events:
    • Changes in Commodity Prices: For countries reliant on specific commodities, a rise in those prices can lead to currency appreciation (e.g., Australia, Canada).
    • Global Economic Conditions: Shifts in global economic sentiment and events in major economies can affect currency values.
  8. Other Central Bank Interventions:
    • Central banks may intervene in currency markets by buying their currency on the foreign exchange market to influence its value. Moreover, central bank interventions such as Quantitative Easing (QE) and Quantitative Tightening (QT) will undoubtedly impact currency value. These potential effects are multifactorial and complex, extending beyond the scope of this article.

Impact on Traders, International Investors, and Businesses 

Understanding currency appreciation and depreciation and its underlying factors is vital for currency traders and investors with international exposure. It affects:

      • Currency Pairs: The relative value of different currency pairs can shift dramatically due to these factors.
      • Export and Import Businesses: A stronger currency can make exports more expensive and imports cheaper.
      • Investment Returns: The value of foreign investments may be affected by currency movements.


Currency appreciation and depreciation are multifaceted phenomena influenced by both economic fundamentals and market psychology. Understanding these dynamics requires a comprehensive view of the global economic landscape and market conditions, enabling traders, investors, and businesses to seize opportunities and manage risks effectively.

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Disclaimer: Articles are from GO Markets analysts and contributors and are based on their independent analysis or personal experiences. Views, opinions or trading styles expressed are their own, and should not be taken as either representative of or shared by GO Markets. Advice, if any, is of a ‘general’ nature and not based on your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Consider how appropriate the advice, if any, is to your objectives, financial situation and needs, before acting on the advice.