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Navigating the trilemma: capital flows and monetary policy in China

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  • Reuven Glick
  • Michael Hutchison

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 goods 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 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 lead to less inflation pressure even with a substantial buildup in international reserves.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2008-32.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2008-32

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Keywords: Monetary policy - China;

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References

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  1. Joshua Aizenman & Reuven Glick, 2008. "Sterilization, monetary policy, and global financial integration," Working Paper Series 2008-15, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Stefan Gerlach & Janet Kong, 2005. "Money and Inflation in China," Working Papers 0504, Hong Kong Monetary Authority.
  3. Maurice Obstfeld & Jay C.Shambaugh & Alan M.Taylor, 2003. "The Trilemma in History:Tradeoffs among Exchange Rates, Monetary Policies,and Capital Mobility," DNB Staff Reports (discontinued) 94, Netherlands Central Bank.
  4. Eichengreen, Barry, 1999. "Kicking the Habit: Moving from Pegged Rates to Greater Exchange Rate Flexibility," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(454), pages C1-14, March.
  5. 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.
  6. Guonan Ma & Robert McCauley, 2003. "Opening China’s capital account amid ample dollar liquidity," BIS Papers chapters, in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), China's capital account liberalisation: international perspective, volume 15, pages 25-34 Bank for International Settlements.
  7. Glick, Reuven & Hutchison, Michael M., 2000. "Foreign reserve and money dynamics with asset portfolio adjustment: international evidence," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 10(3-4), pages 229-247, December.
  8. Joshua Aizenman & Reuven Glick, 2005. "Pegged exchange rate regimes -- a trap?," Working Paper Series 2006-07, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  9. Guonan Ma & Robert N. McCauley, 2007. "Do China's capital controls still bind? Implications for monetary autonomy and capital liberalisation," BIS Working Papers 233, Bank for International Settlements.
  10. Tony Cavoli & Ramkishen S. Rajan, 2005. "The Capital Inflows Problem in Selected Asian Economies in the 1990s Revisited: The Role of Monetary Sterilization," SCAPE Policy Research Working Paper Series 0518, National University of Singapore, Department of Economics, SCAPE.
  11. Sebastian Edwards & Eduardo Levy Yeyati, 2003. "Flexible Exchange Rates as Shock Absorbers," NBER Working Papers 9867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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.
  13. Yin-Wong Cheung & Dickson C. Tam & Matthew S. Yiu, 2008. "Does the Chinese interest rate follow the US interest rate?," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(1), pages 53-67.
  14. M S Mohanty & Philip Turner, 2006. "Foreign exchange reserve accumulation in emerging markets: what are the domestic implications?," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, September.
  15. Vincent Bouvatier, 2006. "Hot money inflows in China : How the people's bank of China took up the challenge," Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques bla06011, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  16. Burdekin, Richard C.K. & Siklos, Pierre L., 2008. "What has driven Chinese monetary policy since 1990? Investigating the People's bank's policy rule," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 847-859, September.
  17. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "No Single Currency Regime is Right for All Countries or At All Times," NBER Working Papers 7338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Johansen, Soren, 1991. "Estimation and Hypothesis Testing of Cointegration Vectors in Gaussian Vector Autoregressive Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1551-80, November.
  19. Shang-Jin Wei & Eswar Prasad, 2005. "The Chinese Approach to Capital Inflows," IMF Working Papers 05/79, International Monetary Fund.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Tervala, Juha, 2014. "China, the Dollar Peg and U.S. Monetary Policy," MPRA Paper 53223, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Michael M Hutchison & Gurnain Kaur Pasricha & Nirvikar Singh, 2012. "Effectiveness of Capital Controls in India: Evidence from the Offshore NDF Market," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 60(3), pages 395-438, September.
  3. Graham Bird & Alex Mandilaras & Helen Popper, 2011. "Is There a Beijing Consensus on International Macroeconomic Policy," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0611, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  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. 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.
  6. Aizenman, Joshua & Sengupta, Rajeswari, 2011. "The financial trilemma in China and a comparative analysis with India," MPRA Paper 39798, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 03 Jul 2012.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Reuven Glick & Michael Hutchison, 2013. "China’s financial linkages with Asia and the global financial crisis," Working Paper Series 2013-12, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  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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