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Is China "exporting deflation"?


  • Steven B. Kamin
  • Mario Marazzi
  • John W. Schindler


In the past few years, observers increasingly have pointed to China as a source of downward pressure on global prices. This paper evaluates the theoretical and empirical evidence bearing on the question of whether China's buoyant export growth has led to significant changes in the inflation performance of its trading partners. This evidence suggests that the impact of Chinese exports on global prices has been, while non-negligible, fairly modest. On a priori grounds, our theoretical analysis suggests that China's economy is still too small relative to the world economy to have much effect on global inflation: a back-of-the-envelope calculation puts that effect at about 1/3 percentage point in recent years. In terms of the empirical evidence, we identify a statistically significant effect of U.S. imports from China on U.S. import prices, but given the size of this effect and the relatively low share of imports in U.S. GDP, the ultimate impact on the U.S. consumer prices has likely been quite small. Moreover, imports from China had little apparent effect on U.S. producer prices. Finally, using a multi-country database of trade transactions, we estimate that since 1993, Chinese exports lowered annual import inflation in a large set of economies by 1/4 percentage point or less on average, similar to the prediction of our theoretical model.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven B. Kamin & Mario Marazzi & John W. Schindler, 2004. "Is China "exporting deflation"?," International Finance Discussion Papers 791, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:791

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Geoffrey M.B. Tootell, 1998. "Globalization and U.S. inflation," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jul, pages 21-33.
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    3. W. Michael Cox & Jahyeong Koo, 2003. "China: awakening giant," Monograph, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, number 2003a.
    4. Robert G. Valletta, 2003. "Is our IT manufacturing edge drifting overseas?," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue oct10.
    5. William A. Testa & Jay Liao & Alexei Zelenev, 2003. "Midwest manufacturing and trade with China," Chicago Fed Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Nov.
    6. Jane E. Ihrig & Jaime R. Marquez, 2003. "An empirical analysis of inflation in OECD countries," International Finance Discussion Papers 765, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    7. Vincent Hogan, 1998. "Explaining the Recent Behavior of Inflation and Unemployment in the United States," IMF Working Papers 98/145, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Jorge A Chan-Lau & Stephen Tokarick, 1999. "Why Has Inflation in the United States Remained So Low? Reassessing the Importance of Labor Costs and the Price of Imports," IMF Working Papers 99/149, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Ana L. Revenga, 1992. "Exporting Jobs?The Impact of Import Competition on Employment and Wages in U. S. Manufacturing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 255-284.
    10. W. Michael Cox & Jahyeong Koo, 2003. "China: awakening giant," Southwest Economy, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Sep, pages 1-8.
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    Cited by:

    1. César Calderón & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2010. "What Drives Inflation in the World?," RBA Annual Conference Volume,in: Renée Fry & Callum Jones & Christopher Kent (ed.), Inflation in an Era of Relative Price Shocks Reserve Bank of Australia.
    2. Robert Anderton & Alessandro Galesi & Marco Lombardi & Filippo di Mauro, 2010. "Key Elements of Global Inflation," RBA Annual Conference Volume,in: Renée Fry & Callum Jones & Christopher Kent (ed.), Inflation in an Era of Relative Price Shocks Reserve Bank of Australia.
    3. Hickey, Ronan & Osborne, Jenny, 2004. "The Chinese Economy: Emergence and Evolution," Quarterly Bulletin Articles, Central Bank of Ireland, pages 67-91, July.
    4. Döhrn, Roland & Brüstle, Alena & Middendorf, Torge & Schmidt, Torsten, 2006. "Die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung im Ausland: Nachlassende Expansion," RWI Konjunkturberichte, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, vol. 57(2), pages 83-108.
    5. Granville, Brigitte & Mallick, Sushanta & Zeng, Ning, 2011. "Chinese exchange rate and price effects on G3 import prices," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 427-440.
    6. Chengsi Zhang, 2016. "How Has Globalisation Affected Inflation in China?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(2), pages 301-313, February.
    7. Alpaslan AKÇORAOĞLU, 2012. "Yeni Açık Ekonomi Makroiktisat Teorisi ve Para Politikasının Uluslararası Boyutları," Ekonomik Yaklasim, Ekonomik Yaklasim Association, vol. 23(85), pages 57-82.

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