China is perennially accused of currency manipulation. Yet, this column argues that a weak currency value doesn’t necessarily reflect currency manipulation. China is a fast growing economy with strong financial frictions and a high saving rate, and such countries naturally have weak currencies. Instead of focussing on accusations of currency manipulation, it might be more helpful for economists to encourage policies that foster Chinese consumption, gradually leading the renminbi to an appreciating path.
Philippe Bacchetta, Kenza Benhima, Yannick Kalantzis, 09 January 2013
Helmut Reisen, Moritz Schularick, Marcus Kappler, Edouard Turkisch, 02 March 2011
If China only allowed its currency to appreciate, the global economy would rebalance and stabilise – or so the argument goes. This column studies the historical record of large exchange-rate revaluations. It supports the idea that currency appreciations have an impact on the current account but argues that this can come at a cost – the reduction in exports risks putting the brakes on global growth.
Avinash Persaud, 10 April 2010
The US obsession with the Chinese exchange rate is a classic example of blaming foreigners for domestic woes. This column argues that we’ve been here before. In the 1980s, the US government – reacting to political pressure from ailing US manufacturers – engineered a massive yen appreciation. That did as little to save US manufacturing jobs then as a rise in the yuan would do today.
Robert Staiger, Alan Sykes, 30 January 2009
Many critics argue that Chinese currency undervaluation amounts to an export subsidy and import tariff responsible for global trade imbalances. This column cautions against that equivalence. In the long run, currency devaluation does not alter export volumes, and in the short run, its effects depend on firms’ invoicing decisions. Policymakers should take care before turning to trade sanctions as a remedy.