Do China's capital controls still bind? Implications for monetary autonomy and capital liberalisation

BIS Working Papers  |  No 233  | 
02 August 2007


The paper argues that China's capital controls remain substantially binding. This has allowed the Chinese authorities to retain some degree of short-term monetary autonomy, despite the fixed exchange rate up to July 2005. Although the Chinese capital controls have not been watertight, we find sustained and significant gaps between onshore and offshore renminbi interest rates and persistent dollar/renminbi interest rate differentials during the period of a de facto dollar peg. While some cross-border flows do respond to market expectations and relative yields, they have not been large enough to equalise onshore and offshore renminbi yields.

JEL classification: F31, F32, F36, G15, G18

Keywords: Foreign exchange market, capital flows, capital controls, monetary policy, financial stability and the Chinese economy.