We document that since December 2015 the People’s Bank of China (PBC) has followed a “two-pillar” exchange rate policy that aims to achieve both stability and flexibility. Based on a no-arbitrage model and options price data we estimate the credibility of the policy as well as its impact on the RMB/USD exchange rate. The model was able to correctly forecast the end of the two-pillar policy in May 2017.
We find that the widely adopted daily price limit rules may induce large investors as a group to pursue a destructive trading strategy of pushing stock prices to the upper price limit and then profiting from selling these stocks on the next day. Their trading accelerates the price increase on the day that the upper price limit is reached, thus leading to the so-called Magnet Effect. This unintended effect renders the daily price limits — a market stabilization scheme — counterproductive.
In this paper, we show that a general equilibrium model that properly captures the risks in old age, the role of family insurance, changes in demographics, and the productivity growth rate is capable of generating changes in the national saving rate in China that mimic the data well. Our findings suggest that the combination of the risks faced by the elderly and the deterioration of family insurance due to the one-child policy may account for approximately half of the increase in the saving rate between 1980 and 2010. We also show that changes in total factor productivity growth account for the fluctuations in the saving rate during this period.
China is on a path to capital account liberalization. If the renminbi is to become an international reserve currency (e.g. Prasad, 2016), as it has started to and one day will be, China must have an open capital account. But once the capital account is open, the economy will be exposed to gyrations of the global financial cycle (Rey, 2014). This column argues that international credit supply shocks have powerful effects on real and financial variables of the receiving countries, but not all economies are affected similarly, and those that have lower loan-to-value ratios (LTVs) and limits on foreign currency borrowing (FXLs) are less vulnerable. As China lowers controls on capital flows (e.g., Benigno et al., 2016) it should consider tightening domestic macro-prudential policy regulations (e.g., Cesa-Bianchi and Rebucci (2017) to avoid excessive volatility.
This paper develops a framework for China’s rebalancing, reviews past progress, and discusses medium-term prospects. China has advanced well in reducing its excessive external surplus and moving towards consumption and services, while still lagging behind in reducing credit reliance, environmental pollution, and income inequality. Going forward, the economy will continue rebalancing in many dimensions, while credit will remain China’s Achilles heel unless decisive corporate restructuring and SOE reforms are implemented.