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The Renminbi’s Dollar Peg at the Crossroads

  • Obstfeld, Maurice

In the face of huge balance of payments surpluses and internal inflationary pressures, China has been in a classic conflict between internal and external balance under its dollar currency peg. Over the longer term, China’s large, modernizing, and diverse economy will need exchange rate flexibility and, eventually, convertibility with open capital markets. A feasible and attractive exit strategy from the essentially fixed RMB exchange rate would be a two-stage approach, consistent with the steps already taken since July 2005, but going beyond them. First, establish a limited trading band for the RMB relative to a basket of major trading partner currencies. Set the band so that it allows some initial revaluation of the RMB against the dollar, manage the basket rate within the band if necessary, and widen the band over time as domestic foreign exchange markets develop. Second, put on hold ad hoc measures of financial account liberalization. They will be less helpful for relieving exchange rate pressures once the RMB/basket rate is allowed to move flexibly within a band, and they are best postponed until domestic foreign exchange markets develop further, the exchange rate is fully flexible, and the domestic financial system has been strengthened and placed on a market-oriented basis.

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Paper provided by Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley in its series Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series with number qt7tw4142j.

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Date of creation: 05 Jul 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ciders:qt7tw4142j
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  1. 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.
  2. Kevin Cowan & Jose De Gregorio, 2005. "International Borrowing, Capital Controls and the Exchange Rate: Lessons from Chile," NBER Working Papers 11382, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. repec:ucp:bknber:9780226065878 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Marvin Goodfriend & Eswar Prasad, 2006. "A Framework for Independent Monetary Policy in China," IMF Working Papers 06/111, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Morris Goldstein & Nicholas R. Lardy, 2005. "China's Role in the Revived Bretton Woods System: A Case of Mistaken Identity," Working Paper Series WP05-2, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  6. John Williamson, 1996. "Crawling Band as an Exchange Rate Regime: Lessons from Chile, Colombia and Israel, The," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 14, December.
  7. Guonan Ma & Corrinne Ho & Robert N McCauley, 2004. "The markets for non-deliverable forwards in Asian currencies," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, June.
  8. Frankel, Jeffrey, 2004. "On the Renminbi: The Choice between Adjustment under a Fixed Exchange Rate and Adustment under a Flexible Rate," Working Paper Series rwp04-037, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  9. Morris Goldstein & Nicholas R. Lardy, 2004. "What Kind of Landing for the Chinese Economy?," Policy Briefs PB04-07, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
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