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Sterilization: Definition And Example In Foreign Exchange Sterilization: Definition And Example In Foreign Exchange


Sterilization: Definition And Example In Foreign Exchange

Looking for a clear definition and practical example of sterilization in the finance industry? Explore our comprehensive guide on sterilization in foreign exchange.

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Understanding Sterilization: Definition and Example in Foreign Exchange

When it comes to the realm of finance, it’s essential to have a comprehensive understanding of various concepts and terms. One such term is “sterilization,” which plays a crucial role in the foreign exchange market. In this blog post, we will delve into the definition of sterilization and provide an example of its application in foreign exchange. So, let’s get started!

Key Takeaways:

  • Sterilization refers to the central bank’s action to neutralize the impact of its foreign exchange interventions on the money supply.
  • It involves buying or selling domestic securities to offset the effects of currency interventions.

Now that we have a general idea of what sterilization means, let’s explore its definition and example in the context of foreign exchange.

What is Sterilization?

In the foreign exchange market, sterilization refers to the actions taken by a central bank to mitigate or “sterilize” the impact of its foreign exchange interventions on the domestic money supply. It is employed when a central bank engages in buying or selling foreign currencies to influence their exchange rates.

When a central bank intervenes in the foreign exchange market by purchasing foreign currencies, it increases the supply of domestic currency in circulation. This influx of currency can potentially lead to inflation or other adverse effects on the economy. To prevent such effects, the central bank undertakes sterilization measures.

Example of Sterilization in Foreign Exchange

Let’s consider a hypothetical example to illustrate sterilization in the foreign exchange market. Imagine that the central bank of Country XYZ wants to stabilize the value of its currency, the XYZ dollar (XYZD), against the US dollar (USD). If the XYZD is appreciating too quickly against the USD, the central bank may decide to intervene by selling XYZD and buying USD in the foreign exchange market.

By selling XYZD and buying USD, the central bank aims to increase the supply of XYZD in circulation and decrease the supply of USD. However, this action can potentially lead to an oversupply of XYZD and could cause inflation. To counteract this, the central bank may engage in sterilization by selling domestic securities, such as government bonds, in the open market operations.

By selling domestic securities, the central bank absorbs excess XYZD from the market, effectively reducing its money supply and offsetting the impact of the initial currency intervention. This prevents the potential inflationary effects of the foreign exchange intervention and helps maintain stability in the domestic economy.

Through sterilization, central banks can strike a balance between intervening in the foreign exchange market to influence exchange rates and managing the potential side effects of these interventions in the domestic economy.


Sterilization is a vital concept in the foreign exchange market, allowing central banks to influence currency exchange rates while controlling the impact on the domestic money supply. By understanding the definition and example of sterilization in foreign exchange, you have gained insight into one of the many essential aspects of finance.

We hope this blog post has provided you with a clear understanding of sterilization and its application in the foreign exchange market. Remember to always stay informed about these financial concepts to navigate the ever-changing world of finance confidently.