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China's exchange rate policy and Asian trade


  • Alicia García-Herrero
  • Tuuli Koivu


This paper shows empirically that China's trade balance is sensitive to fluctuations in the real effective exchange rate of the renminbi. However, the current size of the trade surplus is such that exchange rate policy alone will probably not be able to address the imbalance. The potential reduction in the trade surplus resulting from an increase in the renminbi exchange rate is limited mainly because Chinese imports do not react as expected to a renminbi appreciation - they tend to fall rather than increase. By estimating bilateral import equations for China and its major trade partners, we find that the reaction for imports is generally confirmed for China's trade with Southeast Asian countries. That result might be attributable to Asia's vertical integration, as a large share of Chinese imports from Southeast Asia are re-exported. We also find that total exports from a number of Asian countries react negatively to a renminbi appreciation, which points to a dependence of Asian countries' exports on those of China.

Suggested Citation

  • Alicia García-Herrero & Tuuli Koivu, 2009. "China's exchange rate policy and Asian trade," BIS Working Papers 282, Bank for International Settlements.
  • Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:282

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anuradha Dayal-Gulati & Valerie Cerra, 1999. "China's Trade Flows; Changing Price Sensitivies and the Reform Process," IMF Working Papers 99/1, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Tamim Bayoumi & Jaewoo Lee & Sarma Jayanthi, 2006. "New Rates from New Weights," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 53(2), pages 1-4.
    3. Willem Thorbecke, 2011. "The Effect Of Exchange Rate Changes On Trade In East Asia," Journal of International Commerce, Economics and Policy (JICEP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 2(01), pages 85-102.
    4. Koichiro Kamada & Izumi Takagawa, 2005. "Policy coordination in East Asia and across the Pacific," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 275-306, December.
    5. Peter C. B. Phillips & Mico Loretan, 1991. "Estimating Long-run Economic Equilibria," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(3), pages 407-436.
    6. Cerra, Valerie & Saxena, Sweta Chaman, 2003. "How responsive is Chinese export supply to market signals?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 350-370.
    7. Jaime R. Marquez & John W. Schindler, 2006. "Exchange-rate effects on China's trade: an interim report," Working Paper Series 2006-41, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    8. Agnès Bénassy-Quéré & Amina Lahrèche-Revil, 2003. "Trade Linkages and Exchange Rates in Asia: The Role of China," Working Papers 2003-21, CEPII research center.
    9. Alan G. Ahearne & John G. Fernald & Prakash Loungani & John W. Schindler, 2006. "Flying geese or sitting ducks: China’s impact on the trading fortunes of other Asian economies," International Finance Discussion Papers 887, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    10. Jan Voon & Li Guangzhong & Jimmy Ran, 2006. "Does China really lose from RMB revaluation? Evidence from some export industries," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(15), pages 1715-1723.
    11. Peter Hooper & Karen H. Johnson & Jaime R. Marquez, 1998. "Trade elasticities for G-7 countries," International Finance Discussion Papers 609, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    12. Jaime R. Marquez & John W. Schindler, 2006. "Exchange-rate effects on China's trade: an interim report," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gunther Schnabl & Kristina Spantig, 2016. "(De)Stabilizing Exchange Rate Strategies In East Asian Monetary And Economic Integration," The Singapore Economic Review (SER), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 61(02), pages 1-24, June.
    2. Xing, Yuqing, 2012. "Processing trade, exchange rates and China's bilateral trade balances," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 540-547.
    3. Nishimura, Yusaku & Hirayama, Kenjiro, 2013. "Does exchange rate volatility deter Japan-China trade? Evidence from pre- and post-exchange rate reform in China," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25, pages 90-101.
    4. Zhang, Chenying, 2010. "Sterilization in China: Effectiveness and Cost," Working Papers 10-29, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
    5. repec:fdi:wpaper:1786 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:fdi:wpaper:1785 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Eichengreen, Barry & Tong, Hui, 2015. "Effects of renminbi appreciation on foreign firms: The role of processing exports," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 146-157.
    8. Fedoseeva, Svetlana & Zeidan, Rodrigo, 2016. "A dead-end tunnel or the light at the end of it: The role of BRICs in European exports," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 237-248.
    9. Mohammadi, Hassan & Yue, Kan, 2012. "On Trade Balance and Exchange Rates: Further Evidence from China’s Bilateral Trade - La bilancia commerciale e i tassi di cambio: ulteriori evidenze dalle bilance commerciali bilaterali cinesi," Economia Internazionale / International Economics, Camera di Commercio Industria Artigianato Agricoltura di Genova, vol. 65(4), pages 581-604.
    10. Feldkircher, Martin & Korhonen, Iikka, 2012. "The rise of China and its implications for emerging markets : Evidence from a GVAR model," BOFIT Discussion Papers 20/2012, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
    11. Li, Hongbin & Ma, Hong & Xu, Yuan, 2015. "How do exchange rate movements affect Chinese exports? — A firm-level investigation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 148-161.
    12. Ryan, John, 2009. "China and the Reserve Currency Question," MPRA Paper 18218, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    China; trade; exports; real exchange rate;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade

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