NYT_Krugman_-_Chinese_New_Year_20100101

NYT_Krugman_-_Chinese_New_Year_20100101 - Op-Ed Columnist -...

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January 1, 2010 OP-ED COLUMNIST By PAUL KRUGMAN It’s the season when pundits traditionally make predictions about the year ahead. Mine concerns international economics: I predict that 2010 will be the year of China. And not in a good way. Actually, the biggest problems with China involve climate change. But today I want to focus on currency policy. China has become a major financial and trade power. But it doesn’t act like other big economies. Instead, it follows a mercantilist policy, keeping its trade surplus artificially high. And in today’s depressed world, that policy is, to put it bluntly, predatory. Here’s how it works: Unlike the dollar, the euro or the yen, whose values fluctuate freely, China’s currency is pegged by official policy at about 6.8 yuan to the dollar. At this exchange rate, Chinese manufacturing has a large cost advantage over its rivals, leading to huge trade surpluses. Under normal circumstances, the inflow of dollars from those surpluses would push up the value of China’s currency, unless it was offset by private investors heading the other way. And private investors are trying to get into China, not out of it. But China’s government restricts capital inflows, even as it buys up dollars and parks them abroad, adding to a $2 trillion-plus hoard of foreign exchange reserves. This policy is good for China’s export-oriented state-industrial complex, not so good for Chinese consumers.
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This note was uploaded on 09/03/2011 for the course ECONS 101 taught by Professor Hendrik during the Spring '11 term at National University of Singapore.

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NYT_Krugman_-_Chinese_New_Year_20100101 - Op-Ed Columnist -...

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