The effect of a current account surplus

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Create account Login Subscribe. Willem Thorbecke 06 October The US-China currency dispute currency appreciation and trade surplus heated.

This column argues that if a real appreciation in the Chinese currency is not achieved through exchange rate adjustment, it will happen through inflation in China and deflation in the US. It says a better Chinese policy mix would involve nominal appreciation of the renminbi combined with absorption-increasing policies such as developing human infrastructure.

Before the crisis, the Currency appreciation and trade surplus ran large trade deficits with East Asia, oil-producing countries, and the rest of the world.

This is not the case for China. Table 1 shows exports, imports, and the trade balance between the US and the rest of the world before and after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September Currency appreciation and trade surplus and imports both exhibited sharp drops beginning in October The sample is thus divided into the year before the crisis October - Septemberthe first year after the Lehman shock October Septemberand forecasts for the second year after the Lehman shock October — September The year before the Lehman Brothers shock is from October to September The first year after the Lehman Brothers shock is from October to September The second year after the Lehman Brothers shock is from October to September The forecast for the second year is derived by multiplying data for the first ten months i.

These results are presented in Figure 1. Predicted exports or imports represent the sum of predicted exports or predicted imports from 31 countries based on a gravity model. The gravity model includes income in the exporting and importing countries, the real exchange rate, distance, a common language dummy, importer and exporter fixed effects, dummy variables for Mexico and Canada, and a time trend as explanatory variables. Many argue that continued foreign reserve accumulation by the Bank of China is unsustainable because it produces an increasingly inefficient allocation of resources.

Both private and social rates currency appreciation and trade surplus return are much higher for investments in currency appreciation and trade surplus Chinese economy than for investments in US securities. For instance, investing in education would pay high dividends by helping Chinese firms to assimilate new technologies and move up the value chain. Investing in rural education is particularly important see Rozelle Most rural children in China cannot afford pre-school, and even though elementary school is free attendance has declined because of poor accessibility and long, dangerous commutes.

At the high currency appreciation and trade surplus level, tuition is expensive 20 times the per capita annual income of the rural poor and little financial aid is available. As a result, only one in four rural students finish high school.

At the college level, tuition is prohibitively expensive 60 times the annual per capita income of the rural poor. Only three out of one hundred are able to go to tier 1 or tier 2 universities. If China were to invest in the domestic economy rather than accumulating additional foreign reserves, its currency would appreciate. How would this affect trans-Pacific imbalances?

An appreciation of the renminbi against the dollar should thus help to reduce imbalances between the two countries. If China does not let the renminbi appreciate, and if the imbalances prove unsustainable, how else would adjustment occur?

Currency appreciation and trade surplus argue that since Chinese exports are at low price points within product categories, demand for Chinese imports may increase even as overall demand shrinks. The idea that there is a tenuous relationship between Chinese exports and US income is supported by recent experience. A real appreciation of the yuan is thus probably necessary to reduce imbalances between China and the US. If a real appreciation cannot be achieved by nominal exchange rate adjustment, then it will currency appreciation and trade surplus achieved by inflation in China and deflation in the US.

Because this outcome would be very painful for both countries, a better policy mix would involve nominal exchange rate appreciation in China combined with absorption-increasing policies such as building human infrastructure particularly in rural areas and using deregulation to promote competition and productivity growth in the non-tradable sector.

This policy mix would help China to move away from unsustainable exports to the West and instead promote production for domestic consumers. Evenett, Simon J ed. Journal of Macroeconomics 8: Exchange rates Global economy International trade.

USglobal imbalancesChinaexchange-rate policy. China's predicted and actual exports, Figure 1b. US predicted and actual imports, Note: Is the imbalance sustainable? A trade war will increase average tariffs by 32 percentage points. Nicita, Olarreaga, da Silva. The stubbornly high cost of remittances.

Putting the Greek debt problem to rest. Financial engineering will not stabilise an unstable euro area. Trade cold wars and the value of agreements during crises. Shiller, Ostry, Benford, Joy. Risk-sharing and market discipline in the Euro Area. Spring Meeting of Young Economists Economic Forecasting with Large Datasets. Homeownership of immigrants in France: Evidence from Real Estate. Giglio, Maggiori, Stroebel, Weber. The Permanent Effects of Fiscal Consolidations. Demographics and the Secular Stagnation Hypothesis in Europe.

Independent report on the Currency appreciation and trade surplus official debt. Step 1 — Agreeing a Crisis narrative. A world without the WTO: The economics of insurance and its borders with general finance. Banking has taken a wrong turn.

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In macroeconomics , sterilization is action taken by a country's central bank to counter the effects on the money supply caused by a balance of payments surplus or deficit. Sterilization is most often used in the context of a central bank that takes actions to negate potentially harmful impacts of capital inflows — such as currency appreciation and inflation — both of which can reduce export competitiveness.

More generally, it may refer to any form of monetary policy which seeks to hold the domestic money supply unchanged despite external shocks or other changes, including the flow of capital out of the relevant area generally, a country.

In the second half of the 20th century, sterilization was sometimes associated with efforts by monetary authorities to "defend" the value of their currency. In the s and in the 21st century, sterilization has most commonly been associated with efforts by nations with a balance of payments surplus to prevent currency appreciation. Assume that a country's currency is depreciating. To prevent this, the country's central bank may decide to intervene in the foreign exchange market.

To prop up the value of the nation's currency, the central bank may resort to creating artificial demand for its currency. It can do this by using some of its foreign exchange reserves to buy local currency. The resulting demand stops the currency's depreciation but also acts to reduce the domestic money supply in two ways. First the bank is directly removing some of the nation's currency from circulation as it buys it up. Secondly, if the central bank overshoots the target, the intervention can create or worsen a current account deficit due to the propped-up exchange rate being more favorable for importers than for exporters.

This deficit sends currency out of the country, further decreasing liquidity. The resulting lowering of the money supply likely will have a deflationary effect which can be undesirable, especially if the country already has substantial unemployment. To offset the effect on the money supply, the central bank may sterilize its foreign exchange intervention.

It can do this by engaging in open market operations that supply liquidity into the system, by buying financial assets such as local-currency-denominated bonds, using local currency as payment. A sterilized intervention against depreciation can only be effective in the medium term if the underlying cause behind the currency's loss of value can be addressed. If the cause was a speculative attack based on political uncertainty this can potentially be resolved. In practice, the cause driving sterilized interventions in the late 20th century was often that a high money supply had meant local interest rates were lower than they were internationally, creating the conditions for a carry trade.

This involves market participants borrowing domestically and lending internationally at a higher rate of interest, a side effect of which is to exert downwards pressure on the currency being borrowed.

Because a sterilizing intervention holds the money supply unchanged at its high level, the locally available interest rates can still be low. The carry trade therefore continues to be profitable and the central bank must intervene again if it still wants to prevent depreciation. This can only go on so long before the central bank runs out of foreign currency reserves with which to intervene. A central bank can intervene on the foreign exchange markets to prevent currency appreciation by selling its own currency for foreign currency-denominated assets, thereby building up its foreign reserves as a happy side effect.

However, because the central bank is creating or at least releasing more of its currency into circulation, this will expand the money supply — money spent buying foreign assets initially goes to other countries, but then soon finds its way back into the domestic economy as payment for exports.

The expansion of the money supply can cause inflation, which can erode a nation's export competitiveness just as much as currency appreciation would. The classic way to sterilize the inflationary effect of the extra money flowing into the domestic base is for the central bank to use open market operations where it sells bonds domestically, thereby soaking up new cash that would otherwise circulate around the home economy.

A variety of other measures are sometimes used. Other countries also found sterilization more costly after , relating to expansionary monetary policies adopted by advanced economies hit by the financial crisis , most especially the United States.

In contrast to interventions against currency depreciation, there is no inherent limit on interventions aimed at preventing appreciation. If a central bank runs out of domestic currency to buy foreign reserves, it can always print more. There can be political pressure from other nations if they feel a country is giving its exporters too much of an advantage, at the extreme this can escalate to currency war.

There can also be political pressure domestically if commentators feel too big a loss is being made by the sterilisation operations. With a gold standard such as the one that was widely in effect from about —, exchange rates are fixed so generally there is no currency appreciation or depreciation except within a very narrow band, relating to the cost to ship gold between countries.

So if one country enjoys a trade surplus, this results in it enjoying a net inflow of gold from its deficit trading partners. The automatic balancing mechanism is then for the surplus nation's money supply to be expanded by the inflowing gold. This will tend to lead to inflation or at least to the nations citizens having more money to spend on imports [ example needed ] , and hence the surplus will be corrected.

To prevent the expansion of the money supply, central banks can effectively build up hoards of gold by employing a variety of measures such as increasing the amount of gold that banks need to store in their vaults for each unit of paper currency in circulation.

Sterilization was used by the US and France in the s and s, initially with some success as they built up huge hoards of gold, but by the early s it had contributed to a collapse in international trade that was harmful for the global economy and especially for the surplus nations.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Burda and Charles Wyplosz A European Text , 4th edition. Saxena and Kar-yiu Wong Deep pockets support China's forex politics. Retrieved from " https: Monetary economics International macroeconomics. All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from July Articles with unsourced statements from November Views Read Edit View history. This page was last edited on 13 March , at By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.