IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Renminbi Rules: The Conditional Imminence of the Reserve Currency Transition

  • Arvind Subramanian

    ()

    (Peterson Institute for International Economics)

Against the backdrop of the recent financial crisis and the ongoing rapid changes in the world economy, the fate of the dollar as the premier international reserve currency is under scrutiny. This paper attempts to answer whether the Chinese renminbi will eclipse the dollar, what will be the timing of, and the prerequisites for this transition, and which of the two countries controls the outcome. The key finding, based on analyzing the last 110 years, is that the size of an economy—measured not just in terms of GDP but also trade and the strength of the external financial position—is the key fundamental correlate of reserve currency status. Further, the conventional view that sterling persisted well beyond the strength of the UK economy is overstated. Although the United States overtook the United Kingdom in terms of GDP in the 1870s, it became dominant in a broader sense encompassing trade and finance only at the end of World War I. And since the dollar overtook sterling in the mid-1920s, the lag between currency dominance and economic dominance was about 10 years rather than the 60-plus years traditionally believed. Applying these findings to the current context suggests that the renminbi could become the premier reserve currency by the end of this decade, or early next decade. But China needs to fulfill a number of conditions—making the reniminbi convertible and opening up its financial system to create deep and liquid markets—to realize renminbi preeminence. China seems to be moving steadily in that direction, and renminbi convertibility will proceed apace not least because it offers China's policymakers a political exit out of its mercantilist growth strategy. The United States cannot in any serious way prevent China from moving in that direction.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.piie.com/publications/wp/wp11-14.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Peterson Institute for International Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number WP11-14.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iie:wpaper:wp11-14
Contact details of provider: Postal: 1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036-1903
Phone: 202-328-9000
Fax: 202-659-3225
Web page: http://www.piie.com
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Ocampo José Antonio, 2010. "Building an SDR-Based Global Reserve System," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-15, December.
  2. Richard Portes & Helene Rey, 1998. "The Emergence of the Euro as an International Currency," NBER Working Papers 6424, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Barry Eichengreen & Marc Flandreau, 2008. "The Rise and Fall of the Dollar, or When Did the Dollar Replace Sterling as the Leading International Currency?," NBER Working Papers 14154, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Rey, Helene, 2001. "International Trade and Currency Exchange," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 443-64, April.
  5. John F. O. Bilson & Richard C. Marston, 1984. "Exchange Rate Theory and Practice," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bils84-1, June.
  6. Carmen M. Reinhart, 2010. "This Time is Different Chartbook: Country Histories on Debt, Default, and Financial Crises," NBER Working Papers 15815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Bandholz, Harm & Clostermann, Jörg & Seitz, Franz, 2007. "Explaining the US bond yield conundrum," OTH im Dialog: Weidener Diskussionspapiere 2, University of Applied Sciences Amberg-Weiden (OTH).
  8. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521876971 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Richard H. Clarida, 2007. "G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number clar06-2, June.
  10. Capie, Forrest & Goodhart, Charles, 1995. "Central banks, macro policy, and the financial system; the nineteenth and twentieth centuries," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(02), pages 145-161, October.
  11. Richard H. Clarida, 2007. "Introduction to "G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment"," NBER Chapters, in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 1-10 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Mitchener, Kris James, 2006. "Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century. By Jeffry A. Frieden. New York: W.W. Norton Company, 2006. Pp. xvii, 556. $29.95," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(03), pages 846-848, September.
  13. Craine Roger & Martin Vance L, 2009. "Interest Rate Conundrum," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-29, March.
  14. Francis E. Warnock & Veronica C. Warnock, 2005. "International Capital Flows and U.S. Interest Rates," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp103, IIIS.
  15. Barry Eichengreen and Jeffrey A. Frankel., 1996. "On the SDR: Reserve Currencies and the Future of the International Monetary System," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C96-068, University of California at Berkeley.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iie:wpaper:wp11-14. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peterson Institute webmaster)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.