In modern monetary policy, a devaluation is an official lowering of the value of a country's currency within a fixed exchange rate system, by which the monetary authority formally sets a new fixed rate with respect to a foreign reference currency or currency basket. In contrast, a depreciation is a decrease in a currency's value (relative to other major currency benchmarks) due to market forces under a floating exchange rate, not government or central bank policy actions.
A central bank maintains a fixed value of its currency by standing ready to buy or sell foreign currency with its own currency at a stated rate; a devaluation is a change in this stated rate that renders the foreign currency more expensive in terms of the home currency.
The opposite of devaluation, a change in the fixed rate making the foreign currency less expensive, is called a revaluation.
Related but distinct concepts include inflation, which is a market-determined decline in the value of the currency in terms of goods and services (related to its purchasing power). Altering the face value of a currency without reducing its exchange rate is a redenomination, not a devaluation or revaluation.

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