The renminbi bloc is here: Asia down, the rest of the world to go?
Arvind Subramanian, Martin Kessler 27 October 2012
As China becomes ever more important in the global economy, will its currency take on an international role? This column argues that in some sense, this is already happening – an increasing number of emerging-market currencies seem to track (co-move with) the renminbi – and the trend is set to continue.
The staggering economic rise of China in the last three decades leads to the question of the potential internationalisation of its currency, the renminbi (RMB). Internationalisation has different dimensions. An international currency is widely used in financial and trade transactions, and crucially it is used as a store of value. Some, like Eichengreen (2011) and Frankel (2011) see a potential global role for the RMB, provided important ancillary reforms to the domestic financial system and to the financial account first take place.
Global economy International trade
China, renminbi, global currency
Global Rebalancing 2.0
Linda Lim, Ronald U Mendoza 24 September 2012
There has been much talk among economists of ‘global rebalancing’, with the focus on China and the US rebalancing their current accounts. But this column argues that the type of rebalancing that will bring real gains to the global economy is one that will be shaped by many countries, both industrial and developing.
The discussion on global rebalancing is at a crossroads, and much of what will shape policy options moving forward will have to be taken up in roundtables that include more countries than the two usual suspects, China and the US.
US, global imbalances, China
Why do Chinese households save so much?
Raman Ahmed, Heleen Mees 28 August 2012
China’s huge savings are met with both awe and suspicion. This column asks what explains the high savings rate. It uses data from 1960 to 2009 – including the periods with the most significant economic reforms.
China’s monumental savings rate is a popular topic of for policy discussion.1 It has been blamed for the global financial crisis, currency wars (Portes 2010), and the ensuing Great Recession (Mees 2012). But what explains the high savings rate?
The growing body of work on this question has put forward many answers, ranging from the one-child policy to the role of marriage and the weak welfare state (see for example Horioka and Wan 2007, Wei and Zhang 2009, Chamon and Prasad 2010, Jin et al. 2010 and Ma and Yi 2010).
global imbalances, China, savings rate
Rising regional inequality in China: Fact or artefact?
John Gibson, Chao Li 09 August 2012
Many an economist will tell you they base their decisions on evidence. But what if the evidence is based on incorrect or irrelevant data? This column asks what this might mean for our view on regional inequality in China.
A growing literature uses sub-national data from China to measure trends in regional inequality and to test models of economic growth and convergence. Most published studies use provincial-level data although finer spatial scales, such as prefectures (Roberts et al. 2012) and counties (Banerjee et al. 2012), are starting to be used. But regardless of scale, most authors ignore that China’s local GDP per capita data cannot be interpreted in the way that economists would expect, of measuring value-added or output per resident.
Development Poverty and income inequality
China, Inequality, Poverty
China’s strong domestic demand has reduced its trade surplus
Françoise Lemoine, Deniz Ünal 19 July 2012
Since 2008 China’s trade surplus has fallen sharply. This column argues that China has since become a major source of international demand, thanks to its strong economic growth. China’s import demand has been aimed at resource-rich countries and at its Asian neighbours, but also at European exporters, especially in high-end consumer goods.
Between 2005 and 2007 China’s accumulated huge trade surpluses and played a major part in the rise of global imbalances. The US and China have repeatedly come in conflict over the imbalance in bilateral trade.
Global economy International trade
global imbalances, China, current account
Deep integration in free trade agreements in China and India
Ganeshan Wignaraja 04 July 2012
With little end in sight for the Doha Round of trade talks, this column argues that China and India are only going to pursue more free trade agreements. It asks what can be done to make sure these agreements lead to deeper integration between these countries and the rest of the world.
Since the 2000s, creeping protectionism and the stalled WTO Doha Round trade talks have prompted China and India to pursue a variety of bilateral and regional free trade agreements (FTAs). Before 2000, the sole FTA involving China and India was the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement. By February 2012, the Asian giants were among the region’s leaders in trade agreements with 12 FTAs in effect in China and 13 in India. These figures are likely to rise as both giants are presently negotiating increasingly ambitious FTAs.
China, India, free trade agreements
A region-wide free trade agreement in Asia
Pradumna B. Rana 25 June 2012
China, Japan, and South Korea are currently negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA) lending support to the possibility of an agreement for the South-East Asian region as a whole. This column calls for more of the same – and quickly.
The Trilateral Summit last month announced that negotiations would begin later this year on a China/Japan/South Korea FTA or the C/J/K FTA (Joint Declaration 2012). This suggests that two pathways to a region-wide FTA are starting to evolve in Asia. One is the ASEAN-led East Asian FTA and the Comprehensive Economic Partnership for East Asia (CEPEA) comprising the ASEAN+6 including India. The alternative pathway is the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is already under negotiation.
China, Japan, free trade agreement, ASEAN, South Korea
International rules for capital controls
John Williamson, Olivier Jeanne, Arvind Subramanian 11 June 2012
Do we need international rules for capital controls? This column looks at the different regimes in countries such as Brazil and China and argues that we do.
Although economists generally agree that countries can derive substantial gains from international economic integration, the extent to which they should open themselves to international capital flows remains a controversial issue. There is still, 20 years after the rise of emerging markets finance, a wide diversity of approaches to capital account policies. Some emerging market economies maintain a completely open capital account. Others, most notably Brazil, have experimented more actively with market-based prudential capital controls since the crisis.
Global governance International trade
China, capital controls, Brazil
Do ‘animal spirits’ matter to firms’ internationalisation?
Yasuyuki Todo 07 June 2012
How do firms go international? This column reviews evidence from industrialised and emerging economies, including Japan and China, with some surprising findings.
The internationalisation of firms’ production activities is having a massive impact on the global economy – everything from facilitating the rapid industrialisation and income growth in China and other emerging economies to the hollowing out of G7 manufacturing sectors. This growth and de-industrialisation is, in turn, blamed for booming commodity prices and rising wage inequality. Plainly, understanding the determinants of firms’ internationalisation is critical to comprehending today’s globalisation.
China, Japan, foreign direct investment, exports, imports, animal spirits
Germany should follow in the footsteps of China
Kamil Yilmaz 19 May 2012
Germany’s fiscal response to the crisis was timid compared with those of China and the US. This column uses business-cycle connectedness indices to show that Germany should follow in the footsteps of China and increase its domestic spending so that it will generate net positive connectedness to others. Germany was able to increase its exports thanks to the fact that countries like the US, China and Japan stimulated domestic spending significantly.
After the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, leading governments around the world announced fiscal packages to provide stimulus to their respected economies. The Chinese government was one of the first. As early as November 2008, it announced a stimulus package that was planned to go into effect immediately in early 2009. The Chinese government also stood out in terms of the size of the package. Its stimulus package contained an additional fiscal spending of $586 billion over a two-year period (each year’s spending was equivalent to 6.9% of 2008 GDP).
Global economy Macroeconomic policy
Germany, China, fiscal policy, business cycle