احتکار از ذخایر بین المللی در چین: سیاست بازرگانی، مصرف داخلی و سیاست پولی ایالات متحده
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|27877||2013||35 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of International Money and Finance, Volume 32, February 2013, Pages 1044–1078
We develop a two-country two-period model able to reproduce the key qualitative aspects of the US-China co-dependency (and imbalances) as the result of the Chinese and American authorities pursuing different but complementary objectives. We show that a mercantilist reserve hoarding has served well the Chinese policy goals (fast GDP expansion and labor mobilization) and has been compatible with the US ones (high households' consumption). If the US authorities keep monetary policy sufficiently loose, thus reducing the real value of the US liabilities held by China, this latter finds less tempting to stop financing the US external deficit, appreciate the currency and increase consumption. On the contrary, if the policy goals in China change from the maximization of GDP growth to higher households' standards of living, a rebalancing process may be ignited. We then discuss the model and its theoretical predictions, also in light of the Five-Year Plans approved by the Chinese ruling Party.
Chinese foreign exchange reserves topped $3.2 trillion in June 2011, $1 trillion above year-earlier levels and more than 7 times larger than in June 2004. Notably, most of these reserves are concentrated on US dollar denominated assets (in particular, US Treasury securities): since 2006, China alone has held on average more than 20% of all the US Treasuries in foreign hands (see Fig. 1 and Fig. 2).Not only this fast and unusually massive accumulation of reserves has been the object of a lively debate devoted to unveil its economic rationale, but its future persistence has been repeatedly questioned in the specialized press and by distinguished economists. China, the argument went and still goes, may be tempted to stop financing the US external deficit, sell part of its reserves, increase its consumption, and move its economy away from tradables and toward nontradables.1 A widespread consensus in the literature has been reached on the fact that the massive accumulation of foreign reserves in most Asian countries has reflected, to a different extent in different countries, both mercantilist and self-insurance purposes. The mercantilist motive, indeed, is particularly appropriate to account for reserve accumulation in China: as the authorities have enforced tight capital controls and maintained an undervalued currency, which made the country less exposed to capital flow reversals, China has needed limited reserves for purely self-insurance purposes.2Delatte and Fouquau (2012) show that the observed acceleration in the accumulation of foreign reserves during the last decade is more consistent with a mercantilist motive than with a precautionary one. Less attention and not fully satisfactory explanations, however, have been given to the reasons why this strategy has been carried on for such a long period of time despite its growing costs. Export-led growth and reserve accumulation have never been goals per se, but rather the outcomes of the Chinese authorities pursuing the objectives of maximizing GDP, accelerating domestic growth, and facilitating the mobilization of labor from the rural areas into the industrialized urban areas (see, for instance, Yao and Zhou (2011) on this). Nor the literature has addressed the extent to which the Chinese strategy has been compatible with the growth paradigm and the policy priorities in the US. In this work, we endeavor to show that the actual economic relationship between the US and China can be explained by referring to a stylized, but realistic, set of economic policy objectives in both countries: we model the possibility for the authorities in the two countries to choose the strategies that are conducive to better results in terms of their ultimate goals. We show that, given the Chinese objectives, the export-led paradigm has been the appropriate strategy for China once the US policy objectives are taken into account. More precisely, we develop an original two-country two-period macroeconomic model able to trace some qualitative aspects of the Sino-American unbalanced relationship (such as fast export-led growth, undervalued exchange rate, current account surpluses, sterilized reserves accumulation, marked consumption repression, labor mobilization and high household savings in China, and large trade deficits and overconsumption in the US) and to shed some light on the reasons why the Chinese policy makers have so far held on to the reserve accumulation strategy and the conditions under which they may continue to do so. In so doing, we model a non-banal transmission mechanism of nominal exchange rate manipulation in China that incorporates the (often neglected) relationship between the nominal exchange rate peg, the capital account management, the sterilization of the reserves, on the one hand, and surplus labor and its mobilization, on the other hand. These aspects qualify the Chinese economic policy and the structural change observed, and still ongoing, in China.3 This paper refers to the literature on the insurgence and the persistence of large current account imbalances (and in particular of the highly unbalanced relationship between China and the US) according to which current account imbalances owe both to global factors – for instance, the lack of sound non-US investment opportunities after the Asian crisis (Caballero et al., 2008; Mendoza et al., 2009) and the emergence of a global saving glut in the 2000s (Bernanke, 2005) –, and to country-specific domestic determinants, such as the extremely high (low) saving rates in China (US) (Blanchard and Giavazzi, 2006; Chamon and Prasad, 2010; Roubini and Setser, 2004; Laibson and Mollerstrom, 2010) and the undervaluation of the Chinese currency (Blanchard et al., 2005; Obstfeld and Rogoff, 2007; Rodrik, 2008).4 In particular, as extensively argued elsewhere (Bonatti and Fracasso, 2010), we maintain that these domestic determinants of the imbalances should not be interpreted in isolation, but rather in the light of the policy regimes adopted by the authorities to pursue their country-specific political objectives. We show that persistent external imbalances between these two countries are rooted in the symbiotic relationship between their two different growth paradigms, in line with the “Sino-American co-dependency” view proposed by Dooley et al. (2003, 2004, 2009).5 More precisely, China has purposefully maintained an undervalued exchange rate (mainly against the US dollar)6 to foster its economic growth through export promotion, and to facilitate the mobilization of its labor force into the highly productive sectors of the economy (see Holz, 2008; Yao and Zhou, 2011; Rodrik, 2010, for a similar account of the Chinese objectives). To this end, China has tightly controlled the international financial flows and accumulated (and sterilized) the massive amount of foreign reserves mentioned above.7 The US, benefiting of the central position of the US dollar in the international monetary system as well as of the depth and the liquidity of the US sovereign bond markets, has exploited the Chinese willingness to finance its current account deficits so as to maintain high domestic consumption, while ensuring low yields on US Treasury bonds. The US has thus managed to preserve the high level of individual consumption characterizing the so-called “American way of life” (Wright and Rogers, 2010). As claimed by Feldstein (2011), the US large external deficits reflected a combination of public budget deficits and low household saving, this latter in turn influenced by government policies discouraging personal saving. For the sake of model tractability, we propose a relatively stylized framework which is nonetheless able to account for many of the economic aspects (such as, for China, the nominal exchange rate peg, the capital account management, the reserve accumulation, the sterilization of the reserves, the mobilization of labor from the rural to the urban activities) and of the policy goals that have characterized the US, China and their relationship. In Section 3.4, however, we explicitly consider a few alternative representations of the US policy objectives so as to show that other realistic goals are compatible with the story told in the paper. Even when we do not extend the model, in Section 4.2 we thoroughly discuss the extent to which our conclusions are compatible with other policy concerns and with additional observed features of the Chinese and the US economies.8 Our work contributes to the literature and the debate in that it shows that reserves hoarding has served the Chinese policy goals and has been compatible with the US ones, at least as far as the Chinese and US policy objectives can be summarized as the maximization, respectively, of domestic GDP and of domestic consumption.9 The juxtaposition of different policy objectives helps to understand why China has not yet stopped financing the US external deficits to increase Chinese consumption by depleting its stock of foreign reserves (thus, moving the economy from the production of tradables toward nontradables).10 Indeed, the adoption of an export-led growth paradigm supporting the tradable sector in China has ensured an astonishing increase of its GDP and prestige (with the rapid absorption of the rural labor surplus into the modern sectors of the economy, as shown by Ding and Knight (2009); Holz (2008); Knight et al. (2011)), at the same time helping the US to keep a relatively level of consumption. Importantly, we show that the private choices and the policy measures adopted in the US affect which sector China should aim to foster. Contrary to some conventional wisdom maintaining that US inflationary pressures (potentially brought about by the generous monetary policy implemented after the crisis and the two waves of quantitative easing) could induce the Chinese authorities to reverse the accumulation of US financial assets, we show that the Chinese may find unattractive a reversal of their strategy if the US monetary policy is sufficiently loose. If the US monetary policy is too tight, the real value of the US financial assets held by China may increase and lure the Chinese authorities to deplete the accumulated stocks of US assets, to stop financing the US external deficit and to let appreciate the currency. Thus, if the US authorities want to maximize the consumption of the US households, they have an incentive to conduct a sufficiently loose monetary policy so as to make it relatively convenient for China to adopt (and maintain) an export-led growth strategy cum reserve accumulation. Our theoretical model allows to depict the past and current relationship between the Sino-American exchange rate regime, on the one hand, and the policy objectives of the authorities both in the US and in China, on the other hand. However, it is also conducive to predictions that help to appreciate the future evolution of the China–US co-dependency. For instance, the model suggests that, unless a deflationary process takes place in the US or unless the Chinese authorities decide to let domestic consumption expand more rapidly than in the past, the current Chinese strategy will not be rapidly reversed and China will keep on accumulating US assets. Thus, to make sure that an abrupt policy reversal will not occur (as this would reduce consumption opportunities to the US citizens), the American authorities should not advocate too a fast increase in the standards of living in China and should conduct a sufficiently loose monetary policy.11 The remainder of the paper proceeds as follows. The building blocks and the derivation of the model are discussed in Section 2, while the characterization of the equilibrium is presented in Section 3. Section 4 presents a discussion of the features, results and predictions of the model and of their compatibility with alternative representations of the policy objectives and of the economic mechanisms at play. Section 5 concludes. An appendix contains the step-by-step derivation of the model.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The accumulation of foreign reserves by the Chinese authorities has been part and parcel of the export-led growth strategy pursued to foster the expansion of the GDP and the mobilization of the labor force from rural to more advanced activities. The US, in turn, has benefited from keeping consumption high through the accumulation of external deficits, to a large extent financed by China. Our two-country two-period macroeconomic model captures the symbiotic relationship linking the US to China in recent years, reproduces some stylized aspects of the “Sino-American co-dependency”, and helps to rationalize the pros and cons of the accumulation of foreign reserves in China in the light of the policy objectives pursued by both the Chinese and the US authorities. Hence, this work contributes to the debate on global imbalances and on global rebalancing in that it originally focuses on the interdependence between the objectives and the policy strategies adopted in both countries, rather than treating them in isolation. The model shows that, as long as the Chinese policy-makers attach more weight to increasing the economic size of their country than to boosting households' consumption, they have an interest in steering the Chinese economy toward the production of either tradables or nontradables, depending on the US policy actions. In particular, the model suggests that as long as the US monetary policy is not so tight that the real value of the US external debt exceeds a certain threshold, the Chinese authorities have a convenience to keep financing the US external deficits rather than appreciating the currency and depleting the accumulated stocks of foreign reserves. Without stretching the model too much, some lessons for the future of the Sino-US relationship could be drawn from our analysis. The first one is that the duration of the exchange rate undervaluation cum reserve accumulation strategy is not determined by the size of the Chinese foreign reserves per se. In fact, it is mainly influenced by the convenience for the Chinese authorities to maintain their productive specialization in tradables and to keep consumption compressed rather than expand the production of nontradables and domestic consumption. Second, we show that this convenience depends also on the US monetary policy stance, which affects the real value of the stock of US financial assets held by China. The third lesson is that the standard of living that the Chinese authorities desire to guarantee to their citizens is key to determine the likelihood of a policy regime change: the higher the pursued standard, the more likely the occurrence of a reversal. Given that in the US a larger share of the labor force is employed in the nontradable sector than in China, the immediate effects of an appreciation of the renminbi on total employment may be negative in both countries, thereby increasing the number of unemployed people in the US and swelling the ranks of workers employed in the backward sectors of the Chinese economy. Finally, it is worth noticing that, were the Chinese authorities to lose their ability to sterilize the reserves, control the capital flows and influence the allocation of credit in the country, then a change in the growth paradigm is more likely to happen. Assuming that deflation in the US will be a relatively unlikely event, it could be argued that a regime switch is more likely to occur if the Chinese leadership will review the overall objectives for the country, attaching a larger (lower) weight to household's consumption (GDP growth) than in the past. Indeed, the 12th Five-Year Plan (FYP), released in March 2011, seems to go in this direction as it endorses a shift in the official policy from maximizing GDP growth toward raising consumption, average workers' standards of living and, for the first time in a FYP, ‘well-being’. The new “indicators reveal that the 12th FYP places greater emphasis upon economic development versus simply growth, scientific education, and improving overall welfare. […] A number of key goals in the 12th FYP are directed at moving the economy away from export-led growth, raising domestic consumption, and narrowing income inequality.”(Casey and Koleski, 2011; pp.2–4) The speed at which the growth paradigm will be changed and the extent to which the new FYP will be implemented, however, still remain to be seen.