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The Renminbi as a Weapon in an Asian “Currency War”? A Comparative Analysis of Chinese Export Structure

Luca Silipo Économiste en chef pour l’Asie-Pacifique, Natixis.

Much has been said and written on the consequences of the Chinese exchange rate policy for final importers of Chinese goods, such as the US and Europe. In this paper, we tackle a different question: whether managing Chinese Renminbi is an effective trade policy tool to gain a competitive advantage with respect to other Asian exporters. If Chinese export structure resembles more and more to those of other Asian exporters managing the CNY exchange rate against their currencies can create competitive advantage to Chinese goods. Notwithstanding similarity between Chinese and other Asian countries export structure is growing at the industry level, more refined, product-by-product data fail to show the same trend, implying a fall in similarities. This is a surprising result, especially concerning Korea and Japan: the more technologically advanced exports of these two countries might feel more and more the competition of Chinese producers “going up the ladder”. As such, the renminbi exchange policy does not seem to alter significantly the trade competition among Chinese countries.

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1   À une époque où Internet règne, un site web ( a également été créé.

2   Les résultats pour l’ensemble du sous-groupe (similitudes supérieures à 0,5 %) ne sont pas en contradiction avec ceux des graphiques 9a et 9b.

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