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China Currency Appreciation Could Boost U.S. Agricultural Exports

by Fred Gale and Francis Tuan

Outlook No. (WRS-0703) 26 pp, August 2007

U.S. exports of soybeans and cotton to China have boomed in recent years, but the undervalued exchange rate for the Chinese yuan keeps prices of most other U.S. food and agricultural products more expensive than Chinese products. On average, Chinese retail food prices are about a fourth of U.S. prices. Land-extensive commodities like soybeans, cotton, corn, and wheat have relatively high prices in China, but soybeans and cotton are the only major crops that China imports in significant quantities. With an undervalued exchange rate China’s prices are not high enough to attract imports of grains or most livestock products. Appreciation of the Chinese currency would increase the purchasing power of Chinese consumers on world markets and increase China’s demand for imported commodities. However, Chinese policymakers are likely to maintain a cautious approach to currency appreciation, motivated in part by farm income and food security concerns.

Keywords: China, agricultural, food, retail, farm, prices, exchange rate, currency, yuan, appreciation, exports, trade, apples, soybeans, corn, wheat

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Last updated: Monday, May 28, 2012

For more information contact: Fred Gale and Francis Tuan

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