Monetary Policy In China Essay

2961 WordsFeb 10, 201212 Pages
EXCHANGE RATE AND MONETARY IN CHINA POLICY Nicholas R. Lardy By most metrics China’s currency remains undervalued. Its current account surplus increased sharply over the past two years, rising from $17 billion or 1.5 percent of gross domestic product in 2001 to $46 billion or 3.2 percent of gross domestic product in 2003. China ran a trade surplus of $32 billion in 2004 compared with a surplus of about $25.5 billion in 2003. However, China’s underlying current account surplus in both 2003 and 2004 is almost certainly significantly higher than the measured surplus for two reasons. First, as discussed in greater detail below, the Chinese economy recently has been growing at a record-setting but clearly unsustainable pace. High growth has stimulated an unprecedented demand for imports, which grew by 40 percent in 2003 alone, making China the world’s third largest importer. In 2004 China’s imports grew an additional 36 percent. When economic growth eventually slows to a more sustainable pace, it is quite likely that import growth will slow down relative to the growth of exports and China’s trade surplus will widen. That was the pattern in the last macroeconomic cycle when the trade account strengthened substantially between 1993 and 1997. Second, largely because of the peg of the yuan to the dollar, the real trade-weighted value of the Chinese currency has declined since the beginning of 2002 when the value of the U.S. dollar reached a peak. The positive effect of this depreciation on the trade balance occurs with a lag so it is likely that, ceteris paribus, the current account will strengthen further. The combination of these two effects likely makes the underlying current account surplus about 1.5 percent greater than the measured value. China also has run a surplus on its capital account every year since the Asian financial crisis. Not counting the

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