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The Renminbi's Dollar Peg at the Crossroads

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  • Obstfeld, Maurice

Abstract

In the face of huge balance of payments surpluses and internal inflationary pressures, China has been in a classic conflict between internal and external balance under its dollar currency peg. Over the longer term, China’s large, modernizing, and diverse economy will need exchange rate flexibility and, eventually, convertibility with open capital markets. A feasible and attractive exit strategy from the essentially fixed RMB exchange rate would be a two-stage approach, consistent with the steps already taken since July 2005, but going beyond them. First, establish a limited trading band for the RMB relative to a basket of major trading partner currencies. Set the band so that it allows some initial revaluation of the RMB against the dollar, manage the basket rate within the band if necessary, and widen the band over time as domestic foreign exchange markets develop. Second, put on hold ad hoc measures of financial account liberalization. They will be less helpful for relieving exchange rate pressures once the RMB/basket rate is allowed to move flexibly within a band, and they are best postponed until domestic foreign exchange markets develop further, the exchange rate is fully flexible, and the domestic financial system has been strengthened and placed on a market-oriented basis.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5771.

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Date of creation: Aug 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5771

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Keywords: China balance of payments; China currency; fixed exchange rate exit strategy; renminbi;

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References

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  1. Eswar Prasad & Qing Wang & Thomas Rumbaugh, 2005. "Putting the Cart Before the Horse? Capital Account Liberalization and Exchange Rate Flexibility in China," IMF Policy Discussion Papers 05/1, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Maurice Obstfeld, 1993. "The Adjustment Mechanism," NBER Chapters, in: A Retrospective on the Bretton Woods System: Lessons for International Monetary Reform, pages 201-268 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Olivier Blanchard & Francesco Giavazzi, 2006. "Rebalancing Growth in China: A Three-Handed Approach," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 14(4), pages 1-20.
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  5. Jeffrey Frankel, 2005. "On the Renminbi: The Choice between Adjustment under a Fixed Exchange Rate and Adjustment under a Flexible Rate," NBER Working Papers 11274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. International Monetary Fund, 2005. "Capital Account Liberalization and the Real Exchange Rate in Chile," IMF Working Papers 05/132, International Monetary Fund.
  7. John Williamson, 2001. "The Case for a Basket, Band and Crawl (BBC) Regime for East Asia," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: David Gruen & John Simon (ed.), Future Directions for Monetary Policies in East Asia Reserve Bank of Australia.
  8. Philip R. Lane & Sergio L. Schmukler, 2006. "The international financial integration of China and India," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.
  9. Eswar Prasad & Shang-Jin Wei, 2005. "The Chinese Approach to Capital Inflows: Patterns and Possible Explanations," NBER Working Papers 11306, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Guonan Ma & Corrinne Ho & Robert N McCauley, 2004. "The markets for non-deliverable forwards in Asian currencies," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, June.
  11. Morris Goldstein & Nicholas R. Lardy, 2005. "China's Role in the Revived Bretton Woods System: A Case of Mistaken Identity," Working Paper Series WP05-2, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  12. Michael Dooley & Peter Garber, 2005. "Is It 1958 or 1968? Three Notes on the Longevity of the Revived Bretton Woods System," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 36(1), pages 147-210.
  13. Marcus Noland, 2007. "South Korea's Experience with International Capital Flows," NBER Chapters, in: Capital Controls and Capital Flows in Emerging Economies: Policies, Practices and Consequences, pages 481-528 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Marvin Goodfriend & Eswar Prasad, 2007. "A Framework for Independent Monetary Policy in China," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 53(1), pages 2-41, March.
  15. Barry Eichengreen & Mariko Hatase, 2005. "Can a Rapidly-Growing Export-Oriented Economy Smoothly Exit an Exchange Rate Peg? Lessons for China from Japan's High-Growth Era," NBER Working Papers 11625, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Shang-Jin Wei & Eswar Prasad, 2005. "The Chinese Approach to Capital Inflows," IMF Working Papers 05/79, International Monetary Fund.
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  18. Michael Dooley & Rudi Dornbusch & Yung Chul Park, 2002. "A Framework for Exchange Rate Policy in Korea," Finance Working Papers 21757, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
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Cited by:
  1. Lane, Philip R. & Schmukler, Sergio, 2006. "The International Financial Integration of China and India," CEPR Discussion Papers 5852, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Barry Eichengreen, 2008. "Should there be a coordinated response to the problem of global imbalances? Can there be one?," Working Papers 69, United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs.
  3. Robert Lafrance, 2008. "China's Exchange Rate Policy: A Survey of the Literature," Discussion Papers 08-5, Bank of Canada.
  4. XU, Yingfeng, 2009. "Relevant international experience of real exchange rate adjustment for China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 440-451, September.

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