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Transpacific Imbalances and Macroeconomic Codependency

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  • Willem Thorbecke

    (Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI))

Abstract

Current account deficits in the United States (US) and current account surpluses in East Asia are an enduring part of the global economic landscape. They are supported by low saving in the US and by reserve accumulation in Asia. This paper argues that this strategy is causing macroeconomic problems for the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Inflation is rising, and interest rates are set too low because the yuan is closely linked to the US dollar. Low interest rates have fueled overinvestment in physical capital and rising real estate prices. They also cause savers to earn negative returns on their bank deposits. Greater exchange rate flexibility would allow more decoupling between the PRC’s interest rates and US interest rates, helping the People’s Bank of China to implement monetary policy that is appropriate for the PRC. Since exchange rate appreciations would be contractionary for the PRC, they should be combined with domestic absorption-increasing policies such as spending on education, health care, and urban transportation. Interest rates and exchange rates that are more determined by market forces would also help the PRC to move away from an overly capital-intensive growth path to one that is more beneficial for smaller firms and ordinary workers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by East Asian Bureau of Economic Research in its series Governance Working Papers with number 23237.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
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Handle: RePEc:eab:govern:23237

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Keywords: current account imbalances; East Asia; the US; macroeconomic problems; monetary policy; Fiscal Policy;

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  1. Willem Thorbecke & Mario Lamberte & Ginalyn Komoto, 2010. "Promoting Learning and Industrial Upgrading in ASEAN Countries," Macroeconomics Working Papers 23287, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  2. Adams, Charles & Park, Donghyun, 2009. "Causes and Consequences of Global Imbalances: Perspective from Developing Asia," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 157, Asian Development Bank.
  3. Willem Thorbecke, 2010. "How Elastic is East Asian Demand for Consumption Goods?," Trade Working Papers 23277, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  4. repec:cii:cepill:2010-307 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Guillaume Gaulier & Françoise Lemoine & Deniz Ünal, 2011. "China's Foreign Trade in the Perspective of a More Balanced Economic Growth," Working Papers 2011-03, CEPII research center.
  6. THORBECKE, Willem, 2009. "Can East Asia be an Engine of Growth for the World Economy?," Discussion papers 09006, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  7. Ma, Guonan & McCauley, Robert N., 2011. "The evolving renminbi regime and implications for Asian currency stability," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 23-38, March.
  8. Ouyang, Alice Y. & Rajan, Ramkishen S. & Willett, Thomas D., 2010. "China as a reserve sink: The evidence from offset and sterilization coefficients," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 951-972, September.
  9. Shujiro Urata & Toshiyuki Matsuura & Yuhong Wei, 2006. "International Intrafirm Transfer of Management Technology by Japanese Multinational Corporations," Discussion papers 06006, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
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