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China: a stabilizing or deflationary influence in East Asia?The problem of conflicted virtue

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  • Schnabl, Gunther

Abstract

Rapidly growing Chinese exports are middle-tech - and increasingly high-tech - manufactured goods. China runs a huge and growing bilateral trade surplus with the United States, and the position of Japan has changed radically from being a net exporter to China in the 1980s and most of 1990s to being a net importer today. China's smaller East Asian industrial competitors such as Taiwan, Korea, and Singapore face fairly difficult readjustment problems. However, China is a huge importer of primary products and industrial raw materials and runs large import surpluses with the ASEAN group. On the macroeconomic side, China has been a stabilizing influence. While maintaining steady high growth and exchange rate stability at 8.3 yuan per dollar since 1994, it has largely avoided, and thus dampened, the business cycles of its East Asian trading partners. But there are potential clouds on this horizon. Since 1995, China has run with moderate multilateral trade surpluses coupled with large inflows of foreign direct investment. The resulting balance of payments surpluses have led to a rapid buildup of liquid dollar claims on foreigners - both in official exchange reserves and, less obviously, in stocks held privately or in China's nonstate sectors. This increasing private dollar overhang leads to what we call the syndrome of conflicted virtue. If there is no threat that the renminbi will appreciate, private portfolio equilibrium for accumulating and holding both dollar and renminbi assets can be sustained. However, foreigners, particularly Japanese, are upset with China's excessive mercantile competitiveness. They are urging China's government to appreciate the renminbi - and show greater future exchange rate flexibility, which could lead to repetitive appreciations. The result would be severe deflation throughout China's economy and a zero-interest liquidity trap - as in Japan, when forced into repeated appreciations of the yen in the 1980s into the mid 1990s.

Suggested Citation

  • Schnabl, Gunther, 2003. "China: a stabilizing or deflationary influence in East Asia?The problem of conflicted virtue," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 263, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:tuedps:263
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2002. "Fear of Floating," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(2), pages 379-408.
    2. Ronald McKinnon & Gunther Schnabl, 2004. "The East Asian Dollar Standard, Fear of Floating, and Original Sin," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(3), pages 331-360, August.
    3. Ronald McKinnon & Gunther Schnabl, 2003. "Synchronised Business Cycles in East Asia and Fluctuations in the Yen/Dollar Exchange Rate," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(8), pages 1067-1088, August.
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    Cited by:

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    2. Hager, Svenja & Schöbel, Rainer, 2006. "Deriving the dependence structure of portfolio credit derivatives using evolutionary algorithms," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 300, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
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    6. Rostek, Stefan & Schöbel, Rainer, 2006. "Risk preference based option pricing in a fractional Brownian market," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 299, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
    7. Felbermayr, Gabriel J. & Toubal, Farid, 2010. "Cultural proximity and trade," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 279-293, February.
    8. Ronald McKinnon & Gunther Schnabl, 2004. "The Return to Soft Dollar Pegging in East Asia: Mitigating Conflicted Virtue," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(2), pages 169-201, July.
    9. Yalcin, Erdal, 2007. "The proximity-concentration trade-off in a dynamic framework," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 312, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
    10. Ouyang, Alice Y. & Rajan, Ramkishen S. & Willett, Thomas D., 2010. "China as a reserve sink: The evidence from offset and sterilization coefficients," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 951-972, September.
    11. Heger, Diana & Zaby, Alexandra K., 2009. "The propensity to patent with vertically differentiated products: An empirical investigation," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 325, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
    12. Brandes, Julia & Schüle, Tobias, 2007. "IMF's assistance: Devil's kiss or guardian angel?," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 310, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
    13. Duo Qin & Xinhua He & Yimeng Liu, 2010. "Exchange Rate Misalignments: Historical Experience of Japan, Germany, Singapore and Taiwan Compared to China Today," Working Papers 667, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    14. Schüle, Tobias, 2006. "Creditor coordination with social learning and endogenous timing of credit decisions," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 307, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
    15. Morris Goldstein, 2004. "Adjusting China's Exchange Rate Policies," Working Paper Series WP04-1, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    16. Heger, Diana & Zaby, Alexandra K., 2009. "The propensity to patent with horizontally differentiated products: An empirical investigation," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 324, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
    17. Baten, Jörg & Wallusch, Jacek, 2003. "Market integration and disintegration of Poland and Gemany [Germany] in the 18th century," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 268, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
    18. James R. Barth & Gerard Caprio Jr., 2007. "China's Changing Financial System: Can It Catch Up With, or Even Drive Growth," NFI Policy Briefs 2007-PB-05, Indiana State University, Scott College of Business, Networks Financial Institute.
    19. Koepke, Nikola & Baten, Joerg, 2005. "The biological standard of living in Europe during the last two millennia," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(01), pages 61-95, April.
    20. Frontczak, Robert, 2009. "Valuing options in Heston's stochastic volatility model: Another analytical approach," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 326, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
    21. Barry Eichengreen, 2008. "Should there be a coordinated response to the problem of global imbalances? Can there be one?," Working Papers 69, United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs.
    22. Maier, Ramona & Merz, Michael, 2008. "Credibility theory and filter theory in discrete and continuous time," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 318, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
    23. Schnabl, Gunther, 2005. "Der Festkurs als merkantilistische Handelspolitik : Chinas Währungs- und Geldpolitik im Umfeld globaler Ungleichgewichte," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 291, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
    24. Frontczak, Robert & Schöbel, Rainer, 2009. "On modified Mellin transforms, Gauss-Laguerre quadrature, and the valuation of American call options," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 320, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
    25. Frontczak, Robert & Schöbel, Rainer, 2008. "Pricing American options with Mellin transforms," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 319, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions

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