Are Chinese Exports Sensitive to Changes in the Exchange Rate?

Shaghil Ahmed
Content Type
Working Paper
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
This paper builds a model of two types of Chinese exports, those processed and assembled laregely from imported inputs ("processed" exports) and "non- processed" exports. Based on this model, the sensitivity of Chinese exports to exchange rate changes is empirically examined. Unlike previous work, the estimation period includes the net real appreciation of the renminbi that has occurredoverthepastthreeyears. Theresultsshowthatgreaterexchangerate appreciation dampens export growth, both for non-processed and processed ex- ports, with the estimated cumulative price elasticity being substantially greater thanunity. WhenthesourceoftheincreaseintheChineserealexchangerateis appreciations against the currencies of other emerging Asian trading partners, the e§ect on processing exports is positive but insignÖcant, while the e§ect on non-processing exports is signiÖcantly negative. By contrast, when the source of the increase in the Chinese real exchange rate is appreciation against Chinaís advanced-economy trading partners, the e§ects on both types of exports are negative. These results are consistent with the predictions of the theoretical model. Counterfactualsimulationsbasedontheestimatedmodelstronglysug- gest that if the trade-weighted real renminbi had appreciated at an annual rate of 10 percent per quarter since mid-2005, Chinese real exports would have been roughly 30 percent lower today. Thus greater exchange rate áexibility could contribute to lowering Chinaís huge trade surplus through restraining growth of exports.
Economics, International Trade and Finance, Exchange Rate Policy, Exports
Political Geography
China, Asia