Weathering the Asian Crisis: The Role of China
During the Asian crisis, China’s healthy reserves and low debt made possible the avoidance of a ‘country run’. Nonetheless, it did experience a substantial increase in private savings, an associated increase in capital outflow and a slowdown in economic growth. This paper employs a global general equilibrium analysis to examine the relative contributions of external and internal shocks to the Chinese economy during the crisis. The change in private savings, driven by ongoing domestic reforms, appears to have been the dominant force. By coincidence of timing, this shock was also a significant contributor to the international effects of the crisis. Nonetheless, the maintenance since before the crisis of near fixed parity with the US dollar made the combined internal and external shocks more contractionary in China than would have been the case had it been possible to retain a flexible exchange rate regime.
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