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Are Chinese exports sensitive to changes in the exchange rate?

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  • Shaghil Ahmed

Abstract

This paper builds a model of two types of Chinese exports, those processed and assembled largely from imported inputs ("processed" exports) and "non-processed" exports. Based on this model, the sensitivity of Chinese exports to exchange rate changes is empirically examined. Unlike previous work, the estimation period includes the net real appreciation of the renminbi that has occurred over the past three years. The results show that greater exchange rate appreciation dampens export growth, both for non-processed and processed exports, with the estimated cumulative price elasticity being substantially greater than unity. When the source of the increase in the Chinese real exchange rate is appreciations against the currencies of other emerging Asian trading partners, the effect on processing exports is positive but insignificant, while the effect on non-processing exports is significantly negative. By contrast, when the source of the increase in the Chinese real exchange rate is appreciation against China's advanced-economy trading partners, the effects on both types of exports are negative. These results are consistent with the predictions of the theoretical model. Counterfactual simulations based on the estimated model strongly suggest that if the trade-weighted real renminbi had appreciated at an annual rate of 10 percent per quarter since mid-2005, Chinese real exports would have been roughly 30 percent lower today. Thus greater exchange rate flexibility could contribute to lowering China's huge trade surplus through restraining growth of exports.

Suggested Citation

  • Shaghil Ahmed, 2009. "Are Chinese exports sensitive to changes in the exchange rate?," International Finance Discussion Papers 987, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:987
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    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/ifdp/2009/987/ifdp987.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Heiwai Tang & Yifan Zhang, 2012. "Exchange Rates and the Margins of Trade: Evidence from Chinese Exporters," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 58(4), pages 671-702, December.
    2. Kappler, Marcus & Reisen, Helmut & Schularick, Moritz & Turkisch, Edouard, 2013. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Large Exchange Rate Appreciations," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 471-494.
    3. Liao, Wei & Shi, Kang & Zhang, Zhiwei, 2012. "Vertical trade and China's export dynamics," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 763-775.
    4. Cheung, Yin-Wong & Chinn, Menzie D. & Qian, XingWang, 2012. "Are Chinese trade flows different?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 2127-2146.
    5. Yin-Wong Cheung & Menzie D. Chinn & Xingwang Qian, 2014. "The Structural Behavior of China-US Trade Flows," CESifo Working Paper Series 5123, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Soyoung Kim & Yoonbai Kim, 2016. "The RMB Debate: Empirical Analysis on the Effects of Exchange Rate Shocks in China and Japan," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(10), pages 1539-1557, October.
    7. Xing, Yuqing, 2012. "Processing trade, exchange rates and China's bilateral trade balances," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 540-547.
    8. repec:kap:sbusec:v:49:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11187-017-9849-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Willem Thorbecke, 2013. "Investigating China's Disaggregated Processed Exports: Evidence that Both the RMB and Exchange Rates in Supply Chain Countries Matter," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(10), pages 1245-1260, October.
    10. repec:taf:rjapxx:v:18:y:2013:i:2:p:318-332 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Willem Thorbecke, 2010. "How Would an Appreciation of the Yuan Affect the People's Republic of China's Surplus in Processing Trade?," Working Papers id:2621, eSocialSciences.
    12. Thorbecke, Willem, 2011. "Investigating the effect of exchange rate changes on china's processed exports," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 33-46, June.
    13. Yin-Wong Cheung, 2012. "Exchange Rate Misalignment - The Case of the Chinese Renminbi," CESifo Working Paper Series 3797, CESifo Group Munich.
    14. Willem Thorbecke, 2010. "How Would an Appreciation of the Yuan Affect the People’s Republic of China’s Surplus in Processing Trade?," Macroeconomics Working Papers 22823, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    15. Willem Thorbecke, 2010. "Investigating the Effect of Exchange Rate Changes on the People’s Republic of China’s Processed Exports," Finance Working Papers 21989, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    16. 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.
    17. 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.
    18. 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.

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    Keywords

    Foreign exchange rates ; Exports;

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