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Ms. Kazuko Shirono
This paper examines the role of Japan against that of China in the exchange rate regime in East Asia in light of growing interest in forming a currency union in the region. The analysis suggests that currency unions with China tend to generate higher average welfare gains for East Asian countries than currency unions with Japan or the United States. Overall, Japan does not appear to be a dominant player in forming a currency union in East Asia, and this trend is likely to continue if China's relative presence continues to rise in the regional trade.
Ms. Kazuko Shirono
Since the 1997 Asian currency crisis, new interest has emerged in the formation of a common currency area in East Asia. This paper provides estimates of trade and welfare effects of East Asian currency unions, using a micro-founded gravity model. Counter-factual experiments to assess the effects of various hypothetical currency arrangements for East Asia suggest that an East Asian currency union will double bilateral trade in the region, but the resulting welfare effects will be moderate. However, if Japan, a major trade partner for East Asia, is included in the union, welfare effects increase substantially. The evidence thus suggests that certain regional currency arrangements in East Asia will stimulate regional trade rigorously and can generate economically significant welfare gains.
International Monetary Fund
Vanuatu has maintained macroeconomic stability, but real GDP growth slowed despite the receipt of considerable foreign assistance and the implementation of structural reforms under the Comprehensive Reform Program (CRP). A sharp increase in liquidity, a consequent bulge in consumption, and a rise in imports have affected Vanuatu's recent economic performance. Inflation, as measured by the consumer price index for the main urban centers, has remained moderate in recent years. The paper also discusses prices and population, financial sector, and external sector developments of Vanuatu.