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Navigating the Trilemma: Capital Flows and Monetary Policy in China

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  • Reuven Glick

    (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco)

  • Michael Hutchison

    (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Abstract

In recent years China has faced an increasing trilemma¡Xhow 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 Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research in its series Working Papers with number 252008.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hkm:wpaper:252008

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  1. 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.
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  6. Joshua Aizenman & Reuven Glick, 2005. "Pegged exchange rate regimes -- a trap?," Working Paper Series 2006-07, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  7. Alice Y. Ouyang & Ramkishen S. Rajan & Thomas D. Willett, 2007. "China as a Reserve Sink: The Evidence from Offset and Sterilization Coefficients," Working Papers 102007, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  8. Sebastian Edwards & Eduardo Levy Yeyati, 2003. "Flexible Exchange Rates as Shock Absorbers," NBER Working Papers 9867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Yin-Wong Cheung & Dickson Tam & Matthew S. Yiu, 2007. "Does the Chinese Interest Rate Follow the US Interest Rate?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1943, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Reuven Glick & Michael Hutchison, 1994. "Foreign reserve and money dynamics with asset portfolio adjustment: international evidence," Pacific Basin Working Paper Series 94-09, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  11. Vincent Bouvatier, 2006. "Hot Money Inflows in China : How the People's Bank of China Took up the Challenge," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00111153, HAL.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Joshua Aizenman & Reuven Glick, 2009. "Sterilization, Monetary Policy, and Global Financial Integration," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(4), pages 777-801, 09.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Guonan Ma & Robert N McCauley, 2013. "Is China or India more financially open?," BIS Working Papers 410, Bank for International Settlements.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Tervala, Juha, 2014. "China, the Dollar Peg and U.S. Monetary Policy," MPRA Paper 53223, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Aizenman, Joshua & Sengupta, Rajeswari, 2012. "The Financial Trilemma in China and a Comparative Analysis with India," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt2xn3238g, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  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. 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.

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