The appreciating renminbi
Philippe Bacchetta, Kenza Benhima, Yannick Kalantzis 09 January 2013
China is perennially accused of currency manipulation. Yet, this column argues that a weak currency value doesn’t necessarily reflect currency manipulation. China is a fast growing economy with strong financial frictions and a high saving rate, and such countries naturally have weak currencies. Instead of focussing on accusations of currency manipulation, it might be more helpful for economists to encourage policies that foster Chinese consumption, gradually leading the renminbi to an appreciating path.
In the recent US presidential campaign, China was accused again of currency manipulation. In other words, the Chinese central bank is accused of maintaining the exchange rate at an artificially low level compared to its equilibrium value, including heavy intervention in the foreign exchange market. There has been a fierce debate on this issue in recent years, including on VoxEU.org (e.g., Persaud 2011, Reisen 2011, Reisen et al. 2011, Storesletten et al. 2010).
China, Currency manipulation, Currency wars
Half a century of large currency appreciations: Did they reduce imbalances and output?
Helmut Reisen, Moritz Schularick, Edouard Turkisch 02 March 2011
If China only allowed its currency to appreciate, the global economy would rebalance and stabilise – or so the argument goes. This column studies the historical record of large exchange-rate revaluations. It supports the idea that currency appreciations have an impact on the current account but argues that this can come at a cost – the reduction in exports risks putting the brakes on global growth.
Over the past decade, several emerging market economies – China in particular – have run substantial and persistent current-account surpluses. Loose monetary policy in the US could now result in higher domestic inflation within these emerging economies and lead to the sort of real currency appreciation that many countries want to avoid (Bergsten 2010 and Huang 2010).
Exchange rates International trade Monetary policy
US, China, Currency manipulation, exchange-rate policy
Why China's exchange rate is a red herring
Avinash Persaud 10 April 2010
The US obsession with the Chinese exchange rate is a classic example of blaming foreigners for domestic woes. This column argues that we’ve been here before. In the 1980s, the US government – reacting to political pressure from ailing US manufacturers – engineered a massive yen appreciation. That did as little to save US manufacturing jobs then as a rise in the yuan would do today.
“Blame foreigners for domestic woe” is the sad but unsurprising cardinal rule of politics, followed by even the most ardent internationalist. After seven years of a consumption binge in the US, evidenced by a negative personal savings rates, excessive leverage, historically high employment levels and record international deficits, commentators in the world's largest economy did not conclude what every macroeconomic model indicated – that US fiscal and monetary policy were too loose.
Currency manipulation, Chinese exchange rate
Currency “manipulation” and world trade: A caution
Robert W. Staiger, Alan O. Sykes 30 January 2009
Many critics argue that Chinese currency undervaluation amounts to an export subsidy and import tariff responsible for global trade imbalances. This column cautions against that equivalence. In the long run, currency devaluation does not alter export volumes, and in the short run, its effects depend on firms’ invoicing decisions. Policymakers should take care before turning to trade sanctions as a remedy.
The Chinese yuan was pegged from 1994 until mid-2005 at 8.28 yuan to the US dollar. China shifted in 2005 to a policy of loosely pegging the yuan to a basket of major currencies. Since then the yuan has appreciated against the dollar, and the current yuan/dollar exchange rate stands at roughly 6.84. Over the same period, the yuan generally depreciated against the euro, falling from 10.06 in June 2005 to 10.79 in June 2008. With the recent financial crisis, however, the euro has depreciated and the yuan/euro exchange rate presently stands at 8.99.
Exchange rates International trade
China, renminbi, Currency manipulation, yuan undervaluation