IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article

China’s Macroeconomic Imbalances: Causes and Consequences

  • John Knight
  • Wei Wang

In recent years China has experienced two forms of extreme macroeconomic imbalance: an expenditure imbalance in the sense of very high investment and very low consumption, giving rise to rapid capital accumulation; and an imbalance between expenditure and pro-duction, producing external imbalance, i.e. a huge surplus on the current account of the balance of payments. Both imbalances imply a low rate of time discount by both govern-ment and society: consumption in the present is forgone in favour of consumption in the future. The paper examines how these imbalances came about, and goes on to consider whether they can be sustained and how they might be redressed. There is no evidence that the rapid capital accumulation has reduced the rate of profit on capital and thus the incen-tive to invest. However, persistent external imbalance poses a threat to investment if it ge-nerates excess liquidity and asset bubbles. The current account surplus rose remarkably in the years 2004-7. This was associated with exogenous increases in competiveness and in saving, both attributable to the economic reform policies. On current policies, the surplus is likely to rise again once the world economy recovers from its recession. This poses three sorts of problems, each of which is examined in turn: difficulties for macroeconomic stabi-lization policies; risk of capital loss on the foreign exchange holdings; and the threat of re-taliation by China's trading partners. A combination of internal and external policies will be required to redress the imbalance. Keywords: China; investment; consumption; current account; exchange rate; external im-balance; macroeconomic imbalance. JEL Classification: E21; E22; E61; F32; F41; F51.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-9701.2011.01389.x
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal The World Economy.

Volume (Year): 34 (2011)
Issue (Month): 9 (09)
Pages: 1476-1506

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:34:y:2011:i:9:p:1476-1506
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0378-5920

Order Information: Web: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/subs.asp?ref=0378-5920

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Kuijs, Louis, 2005. "Investment and saving in China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3633, The World Bank.
  2. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2009. "The Competitive Saving Motive: Evidence from Rising Sex Ratios and Savings Rates in China," NBER Working Papers 15093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Chamon, Marcos & Prasad, Eswar, 2007. "Why Are Saving Rates of Urban Households in China Rising?," IZA Discussion Papers 3191, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Yun-Wing Sung, 2007. "Made in China: From World Sweatshop to a Global Manufacturing Center?," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 6(3), pages 43-72, October.
  5. Prema-chandra Athukorala, 2007. "The Rise of China and East Asian Export Performance: Is the Crowding-out Fear Warranted?," Departmental Working Papers 2007-10, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
  6. Nicolas R. Blancher & Thomas Rumbaugh, 2004. "China; International Trade and WTO Accession," IMF Working Papers 04/36, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Ben S. Bernanke, 2005. "The global saving glut and the U.S. current account deficit," Speech 77, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Shujie Yao, 2006. "On economic growth, FDI and exports in China," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(3), pages 339-351.
  9. Yongding Yu, 2008. "The New Challenges of Inflation and External Imbalances Facing China," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 7(2), pages 34-50, June.
  10. John Knight & Sai Ding, 2010. "Why Does China Invest So Much?," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 9(3), pages 87-117, October.
  11. Ding, Sai & Knight, John, 2009. "Why has China Grown so Fast? The Role of Structural Change," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Frankfurt a.M. 2009 7, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  12. Ronald McKinnon & Gunther Schnabl, 2009. "The Case for Stabilizing China's Exchange Rate: Setting the Stage for Fiscal Expansion," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 17(1), pages 1-32.
  13. repec:fip:fedgsq:y:2005:i:mar10 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Li Cui & Murtaza H. Syed, 2007. "The Shifting Structure of China’s Trade and Production," IMF Working Papers 07/214, International Monetary Fund.
  15. Ding, Sai & Knight, John, 2009. "Can the augmented Solow model explain China's remarkable economic growth? A cross-country panel data analysis," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 432-452, September.
  16. Wang, Yajie & Hui, Xiaofeng & Soofi, Abdol S., 2007. "Estimating renminbi (RMB) equilibrium exchange rate," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 417-429.
  17. Xinhua He & Yongfu Cao, 2007. "Understanding High Saving Rate in China," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 15(1), pages 1-13.
  18. Jonathan E. Leightner, 2010. "How China's Holdings of Foreign Reserves Affect the Value of the US Dollar in Europe and Asia," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 18(3), pages 24-39.
  19. Franco Modigliani & Shi Larry Cao, 2004. "The Chinese Saving Puzzle and the Life-Cycle Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(1), pages 145-170, March.
  20. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Shang-Jin Wei, 2007. "Assessing China's exchange rate regime," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 22, pages 575-627, 07.
  21. Anthony J. Makin, 2007. "Does China's Huge External Surplus Imply an Undervalued Renminbi?," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 15(3), pages 89-102.
  22. Morris Goldstein & Nicholas Lardy, 2006. "China's Exchange Rate Policy Dilemma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 422-426, May.
  23. Jahangir Aziz & Li Cui, 2007. "Explaining China’s Low Consumption; The Neglected Role of Household Income," IMF Working Papers 07/181, International Monetary Fund.
  24. Yongzhong Wang, 2010. "Effectiveness of Capital Controls and Sterilizations in China," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 18(3), pages 106-124.
  25. Kuijs, Louis & Wang, Tao, 2005. "China's pattern of growth : moving to sustainability and reducing inequality," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3767, The World Bank.
  26. Qiao, Hong, 2007. "Exchange rates and trade balances under the dollar standard," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 765-782.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:34:y:2011:i:9:p:1476-1506. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.