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The Chinese Approach to Capital Inflows; Patterns and Possible Explanations

  • Shang-Jin Wei
  • Eswar S Prasad

In this paper, we adopt a cross-country perspective to examine the evolution of capital flows into China, both in terms of volumes and composition. China's inflows have generally been dominated by foreign direct investment (FDI), a pattern that appears to be favorable in light of the recent literature on the experiences of developing countries with financial globalization. We provide a detailed documentation of the evolution of China's capital controls, a proximate determinant of the pattern of capital inflows. We also discuss a number of other intriguing hypotheses that attempt to capture the "deeper" causes underlying China's approach to capital flows. In particular, we argue that some popular mercantilist-type arguments are inconsistent with the facts. We also analyze the recent rapid rise of China's international reserves and discuss its implications. Contrary to some popular perceptions, the dramatic surge in foreign exchange reserves since 2001 is mainly attributable to non-FDI capital inflows, rather than current account surpluses or FDI.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 05/79.

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Length: 61
Date of creation: 01 Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:05/79
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  6. Enrica Detragiache & Antonio Spilimbergo, 2001. "Crises and Liquidity; Evidence and Interpretation," IMF Working Papers 01/2, International Monetary Fund.
  7. R. Gaston Gelos & Shang-Jin Wei, 2005. "Transparency and International Portfolio Holdings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(6), pages 2987-3020, December.
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  18. Ricardo Hausmann & Eduardo Fernández-Arias, 2000. "Foreign Direct Investment: Good Cholesterol?," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6466, Inter-American Development Bank.
  19. Ayhan Kose & Kenneth Rogoff & Eswar S Prasad & Shang-Jin Wei, 2003. "Effects of Financial Globalization on Developing Countries; Some Empirical Evidence," IMF Occasional Papers 220, International Monetary Fund.
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