• capital account liberalization;
  • exchange rates;
  • net foreign asset position
  • F21;
  • F31;
  • F37;
  • O24


In this paper we study the determinants of gross capital flows, project the size of China's international investment position in 2020, and analyze the implications for the renminbi real exchange rate if China liberalizes the capital account. We assume in this exercise that the renminbi will have largely achieved capital account convertibility by the end of the current decade, a timetable consistent with recent proposals by the People's Bank of China. Our analysis shows that if the capital account were liberalized, China's gross international investment position would grow significantly, and inflows and outflows would become much more balanced. The private sector would turn its net liability position into a balanced position, and the official sector would reduce its net asset position significantly, relative to the country's GDP. Because of the increasing importance of private sector foreign claims and the decreasing importance of official foreign reserves, China would be able to earn higher net investment income from abroad. Overall, China would continue to be a net creditor, with the net foreign asset position as a share of GDP remaining largely stable through this decade. These findings suggest that the renminbi real exchange rate would not be particularly sensitive to capital account liberalization as capital flows are expected to be two-sided. The renminbi real exchange rate would likely be on a path of moderate appreciation as China is expected to maintain a sizeable growth differential with its trading partners.