Bulletin – December Quarter 2015 Chinese Capital Flows and Capital Account Liberalisation Abstract

Chinese private capital flows are dominated by foreign direct investment and banking-related flows, with portfolio flows remaining relatively small (as a share of GDP). Of these components, banking-related flows account for the majority of the cyclical variation in total flows and seem to be driven by expected changes in the exchange rate. Both the composition of capital flows and the factors that drive their variation are likely to change as the Chinese authorities gradually open the capital account in line with their stated intention. Given the size of China's economy, the implications of a continued opening of its capital account and a significant increase in capital flows are potentially very large. They include a greater influence of global financial conditions on China (and vice versa), a change in the composition of China's net foreign assets, and a change in the nature of the economic and financial risks facing China.

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