China's Exchange Rate Policy: A Survey of the Literature
China's integration into the world economy has benefited its people by reducing poverty and raising living standards, and it has benefited the industrialized world by producing manufactured goods at lower cost. It has also raised geopolitical concerns as China's power grows, economic concerns as the manufacturing base in many industrialized countries erodes, and polemics as proposals of protectionist measures to counter China's export growth are put forward. The author reviews the literature on how China's exchange rate regime could evolve and contribute, through greater flexibility, to tempering domestic inflationary pressures and to facilitating an orderly resolution of global imbalances. His main conclusions are that China would benefit from moving towards a more flexible exchange rate regime and allowing the People's Bank of China greater independence to pursue an inflation-control objective. In a transition phase, a managed float would be useful to limit volatility as firms adapt to the new system and the banking system is put on a sounder footing, a monetary policy framework is put in place, and capital controls are progressively eased. Shock therapy (a quick and pronounced revaluation) would be ill advised.
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