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Navigating the trilemma: Capital flows and monetary policy in China

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  • Glick, Reuven
  • Hutchison, Michael

Abstract

In recent years China has faced an increasing trilemma--how to pursue an independent domestic monetary policy and limit exchange rate flexibility, while at the same time facing large and growing international capital flows. This paper analyzes the impact of the trilemma on China's monetary policy as the country liberalizes its good and financial markets and integrates with the world economy. It shows how China has sought to insulate its reserve money from the effects of balance of payments inflows by sterilizing through the issuance of central bank liabilities. However, we report empirical results indicating that sterilization dropped precipitously in 2006 in the face of the ongoing massive buildup of international reserves, leading to a surge in reserve money growth. We also estimate a vector error correction model linking the surge in China's reserve money to broad money, real GDP, and the price level. We use this model to explore the inflationary implications of different policy scenarios. Under a scenario of continued rapid reserve money growth (consistent with limited sterilization of foreign exchange reserve accumulation) and strong economic growth, the model predicts a rapid increase in inflation. A model simulation using an extension of the framework that incorporates recent increases in bank reserve requirements also implies a rapid rise in inflation. By contrast, model simulations incorporating a sharp slowdown in economic growth such as that seen in late 2008 and 2009 lead to less inflation pressure even with a substantial buildup in international reserves.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Asian Economics.

Volume (Year): 20 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 205-224

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Handle: RePEc:eee:asieco:v:20:y:2009:i:3:p:205-224

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/asieco

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Keywords: Trilemma Capital flows Monetary policy China;

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References

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  1. Maurice Obstfeld & Jay C. Shambaugh & Alan M. Taylor, 2004. "The Trilemma in History: Tradeoffs among Exchange Rates, Monetary Policies, and Capital Mobility," NBER Working Papers 10396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. James S Laurenceson & Callan Windsor, 2011. "How Effective is China’s Monetary Policy? An assessment of the link between the growth of monetary aggregates and inflation during the 2000s," Discussion Papers Series 435, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  2. Liu, Lin & Chang, Hsu-Ling & Su, Chi-Wei & Jiang, Chun, 2013. "Real interest rate parity in East Asian countries based on China with flexible Fourier stationary test," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25, pages 52-58.
  3. Bird, Graham & Mandilaras, Alex & Popper, Helen, 2012. "Is there a Beijing Consensus on International Macroeconomic Policy?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(10), pages 1933-1943.
  4. Ito, Hiro, 2009. "U.S. current account debate with Japan then, with China now," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 294-313, May.
  5. Aizenman, Joshua & Sengupta, Rajeswari, 2011. "The financial trilemma in China and a comparative analysis with India," MPRA Paper 34485, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Tervala, Juha, 2014. "China, the Dollar Peg and U.S. Monetary Policy," MPRA Paper 53223, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Ma, Guonan & McCauley, Robert N., 2013. "Is China or India more financially open?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 6-27.
  8. Glick, Reuven & Hutchison, Michael, 2013. "China's financial linkages with Asia and the global financial crisis," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 186-206.
  9. Liu, Yan & Chang, Hsu-Ling & Su, Chi-Wei, 2013. "Do real interest rates converge across East Asian countries based on China?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 467-473.
  10. Michael Hutchison & Gurnain Kaur Pasricha & Nirvikar Singh, 2011. "Effectiveness of Capital Controls in India: Evidence from the Offshore NDF Market," Working Papers 11-29, Bank of Canada.
  11. Hutchison, Michael & Sengupta, Rajeswari & Singh, Nirvikar, 2011. "Dove or Hawk? characterizing monetary regime switches during financial liberalization in India," MPRA Paper 30423, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Xiaowen Jin, 2012. "An Empirical Study of Exchange Rate Pass-Through in China," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 59(2), pages 135-156, May.
  13. Hutchison, Michael M. & Sengupta, Rajeswari & Singh, Nirvikar, 2013. "Dove or Hawk? Characterizing monetary policy regime switches in India," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(C), pages 183-202.
  14. Aizenman, Joshua & Chinn, Menzie D. & Ito, Hiro, 2010. "The emerging global financial architecture: Tracing and evaluating new patterns of the trilemma configuration," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 615-641, June.

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