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Appreciating The Renminbi

  • Rod Tyers

    (UWA Business School, The University of Western Australia)

  • Ying Zhang

    (SCollege of Business and Economics, Australian National University)

International pressure to revalue China’s currency stems in part from the expectation that rapid economic growth should be associated with an underlying real exchange rate appreciation. This hinges on the Balassa-Samuelson hypothesis, which sees growth as stemming from improvements in traded sector productivity and associated rises in wages and non-traded prices. Yet, despite extraordinary growth after the mid-1990s China’s real exchange rate showed no tendency to appreciate until after 2004. We use a dynamic general equilibrium model to simulate the economy and show that, during this period, trade reforms and a rising national saving rate were offsetting forces in the presence of elastic labour supply. We then examine the possible determinants of the striking transition to real appreciation thereafter, noting mounting evidence that an improved rural terms of trade has tightened China’s labour market. We show that, should the Chinese government bow to international pressure by appreciating the renminbi either via an extraordinary monetary contraction or via export disincentives the consequences would be harmful for both Chinese and global interests.

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Paper provided by The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics in its series Economics Discussion / Working Papers with number 10-13.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uwa:wpaper:10-13
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  1. Liu, Jing & Nico van Leeuwen & Tri Thanh Vo & Rod Tyers & Thomas W. Hertel, 1998. "Disaggregating Labor Payments by Skill Level in GTAP," GTAP Technical Papers 314, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
  2. Rod Tyers & Jane Golley & Iain Bain, 2007. "China'S Real Exchange Rate Puzzle," CAMA Working Papers 2007-14, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  3. William R. Cline, 2005. "The Case for a New Plaza Agreement," Policy Briefs PB05-04, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  4. Rod Tyers & Iain Bain, 2015. "The Global Economic Implications of Freer Skilled Migration," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 15-12, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  5. Engel, C., 1996. "Accounting for U.S. Real Exchange Rate Changes," Working Papers 96-02, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  6. Frankel, Jeffrey, 2004. "On the Renminbi: The Choice between Adjustment under a Fixed Exchange Rate and Adustment under a Flexible Rate," Working Paper Series rwp04-037, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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  9. Rees, Lucy & Tyers, Rod, 2004. "Trade reform in the short run: China's WTO accession," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 1-31, February.
  10. Yin-wong Cheung & Menzie D. Chinn & Eiji Fujii, 2007. "The Overvaluation of Renminbi Undervaluation," Working Papers 112007, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  11. Imed Drine & Christophe Rault, 2005. "Can the Balassa-Samuelson theory explain long-run real exchange rate movements in OECD countries?," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(8), pages 519-530.
  12. Alan M. Taylor & Paul Bergin & Reuven Glick, 2005. "Productivity, Tradability, and the Long-Run Price Puzzle," Working Papers 511, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  13. Mario J. Crucini & Chris I. Telmer & Marios Zachariadis, 2005. "Understanding European Real Exchange Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 724-738, June.
  14. Jaewoo Lee & Joshua Aizenman, 2006. "Financial Versus Monetary Mercantilism: Long-Run View of Large International Reserves Hoarding," IMF Working Papers 06/280, International Monetary Fund.
  15. Ken Miyajima, 2005. "Real Exchange Rates in Growing Economies: How Strong Is the Role of the Nontradables Sector?," IMF Working Papers 05/233, International Monetary Fund.
  16. Holz, Carsten A., 2006. "New capital estimates for China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 142-185.
  17. Tung, Chen-Yuan & Baker, Sam, 2004. "RMB revaluation will serve China's self-interest," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 331-335.
  18. Robert J. Gordon, 2003. "Exploding Productivity Growth: Context, Causes, and Implications," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(2), pages 207-298.
  19. McKinnon, Ronald I., 2004. "The East Asian dollar standard," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 325-330.
  20. Ehsan U. Choudhri & Mohsin S. Khan, 2005. "Real Exchange Rates in Developing Countries: Are Balassa-Samuelson Effects Present?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 52(3), pages 2.
  21. Rod Tyers & Jane Golley & Bu Yongxiang & Iain Bain, 2007. "China's Economic Growth and its Real Exchange Rate," DEGIT Conference Papers c012_014, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  22. Virginie Coudert & Cécile Couharde, 2005. "Real Equilibrium Exchange Rate in China," Working Papers 2005-01, CEPII research center.
  23. Bela Balassa, 1964. "The Purchasing-Power Parity Doctrine: A Reappraisal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72, pages 584.
  24. Robert W. Fogel, 2006. "Why China is Likely to Achieve its Growth Objectives," NBER Working Papers 12122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Rod Tyers & Jane Golley, 2006. "China's Growth to 2030: Demographic Change and the Labour Supply Constraint," PGDA Working Papers 1106, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  26. David E. Bloom & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 1997. "Demographic Transitions and Economic Miracles in Emerging Asia," NBER Working Papers 6268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Cai Fang & Wang Dewen, 2005. "Demographic transition: implications for growth," Labor and Demography 0512001, EconWPA.
  28. Eswar Prasad & Qing Wang & Thomas Rumbaugh, 2005. "Putting the Cart Before the Horse? Capital Account Liberalization and Exchange Rate Flexibility in China," IMF Policy Discussion Papers 05/1, International Monetary Fund.
  29. Rod Tyers & Yongxiang Bu & Ian Bain, 2006. "China’s Equilibrium Real Exchange Rate: A Counterfactual Analysis," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2006-466, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
  30. Rod Tyers & Jane Golley, 2007. "China’s Real Exchange Rate," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2007-479, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
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