理查德·库珀（Richard N. Cooper）为美国原副国务卿（卡特政府时期），主管美国经济事务。现为哈佛大学经济系教授，曾在美国肯尼迪政府、卡特政府和克林顿政府三届政府中担任重要职务。
Q：How do you comment on Zhou and his 15 years
work at PBOC?
A: I’m actually
speaking as an economist, a professor of economics, who is interested in
central banks, not as a former governmental official.
A: I think Zhou
Xiaochuan has been an outstanding central bank governor, both for China and as
a representative of China on the international area, he is very widely respected,
he is smart, articulate. I don’t speak Chinese, but I assume he is articulate
in Chinese, and he is very articulate also in English, which he uses in many
international meetings that he goes to. He has been in the forefront of
economic reform of some areas, particularly the financial sector, but he is as
a reformer, being cautious in pushing forward in the reforms, which I think has
been wise, given the circumstances in China. So I would say is, President Zhou
is an outstanding central bank governor, and China will lose a very good man, if
Q: let’s talk
about some of his deeds in the past, in order to cope with the financial crisis
in 2008, there was a balance shift in the PBOC bandage rapidly, and some people
may disagree with Zhou’s measures, which he has taken during his time, so how
do you think about his policy during the financial crisis?
A:The first thing
I should say is, China itself did not have a financial crisis, the financial
crisis was concentrated in the United States and in Western Europe, and the
problem is, the financial crisis went into a worldwide recession, which
influenced Canada, Japan, China and other countries that did not actually
experience the financial crisis.
So I would say
that the policy pursued by China in 2008 and in 2009 was responding to the
worldwide recession. And I think that under the circumstances at that time, a
substantial easy monetary policy was highly warranted. And China of course was
not alone, the US, European Central Bank and East Bank in England and East Bank
of Japan, so China was in think with other major central banks of the world. I
think it was generally a wise and decisive decision, it has a legacy, but it
would be much worse today if those decisions had not been taken.
China is a little
more complicated in one respect, like other countries, China pursued an
expansionist fiscal policy, but the financing in the physical stimulus in China
was mainly by the bank system, not directly by the government, so monetary and fiscal
policy was more closely related in China than those in United States, Britain or
ECB, which is of course just monetary policy, fiscal policy rest with the
National States. And of course, the PBOC was not as independent to the central
government as in other leading countries.
Q: How do you like
the process the RMB internationalization? And what role do you think Zhou has
played in the RMB internationalization?
A: That is a complicated question. Starting with the
meaning of internationalization, what do China actually mean by
internationalization of RMB? I have the impression, but I do not read Chinese, so
I cannot follow Chinese literature. China are competing in two very different
One is being, I would call it, a normal currency, which
is available for every international use. Like Canadian dollar or Australian
dollar or British pound, they are fully convertible, residents can buy other
foreign currencies without restriction, foreigners can invest in Canada or
Australia, which from a currency point of view, without all kinds of
restrictions. So at that point of view, it’s a normal currency which is
available for use around the world. As one step, and in order to achieve that
step, China is not there yet, and RMB needs to be made fully convertible for
that step. And I think China has been cautious, or correctly cautious in moving
forward, that’s one of the issues of becoming a normal, international currency.
I have the
impression among non-economists, they have a quite different status on
international currency, they want to be like US dollar. You know, an
international currency, in a sense, the US dollar is used in transactions
between countries that do not involve United States. The point I want to make
there, I want to make several points.
decision is not made by China, China has its steps and conditions, by which
step can take place, that is making RMB a normal currency, as I would call it, but
it is foreigners who will decide whether RMB becomes an international currency
in that sense, not the Chinese government. That’s the first point, that
foreigners will decide.
The US government
never pushed the dollar as an international currency in those terms, that was
decided by foreigners. And similarly, just like in the 19th century,
that issue will be set by foreigners, the Chinese government has to create
conditions, but it’s the foreigners that will decide whether the RMB becomes an
international currency. I do not see it will take place in decades.
Q: Zhou has said interest rates liberalization of RMB has basically
accomplished, I don’t know whether you have heard of his words.
A: I haven’t heard his word on this, but I agree with what he has said.
From a formal point of view, the setting interest rates on deposits has been in
whatever it was, 2014 I think, so a year and half ago. So from that formal
point of view, now it has been completely liberalized, lending rates were
liberalized some years earlier in various phases, so he’s correct from a formal
point of view.
Q: How like the rapid appreciation of RMB and the weakened dollar index
in recent months?
A: The dollar has weakened against many currencies, not just against
the RMB, actually it is rather less weakened against the RMB than other
currencies. But you also need to know the starting point, the dollar is
exceptionally strong, let’s say two years ago, and two years and half ago, so
several correction is not surprising, that other currencies have appreciated
not just the RMB, but the Euro, one exception is the pound, which was
influenced by blackened, the Canadian dollar has appreciated against the US
having been very low two years ago.
You know, currency move around a lot and this is one of the general
movements. In this case, correcting the very strong dollar was roughly two
years ago, that interpretation I would not give a deeper interpretation. We’re
gonna see in the coming year, given the US tax reductions, a substantial
increase in US interest rates, in the next year to 18 months, that will further
strengthen the dollar. But these are all modest movements, the RMB was at one
time around 7, or 6.9 to the US dollar, it has gone back to what it is now, 6.3,
which is where it was before the rise of the dollar. So anyway, all these are
still relatively modest movements.
Q: Do you think the RMB and China’s financial policies have enough
impacts on the world yet? I mean do you think they have large influence on the
A: Well, yes or no. I think the fact that China is a very high saving
country, and has a substantial current account surplus, it does have an impact,
it is a big economy, it certainly has an impact on the rest of the world. Let’s
say, net source of savings for the world as a whole. Whether that is a good
thing or bad thing depends on the condition of the rest of the world, at the
moment, it is probably a good thing, six years ago, it would be a bad thing.
Because the world’s economy is in a better shape now than it was six years ago.
So in that fundamental sense, my answer is yes, China has an important
influence on the world’s economy as a whole.
If you’re talking about small changes in monetary policy or monetary
rules, as a domestic economy, the answer to further expectation is No. Because
China has exchange controls on capital movements, both inward and outward, and
the usual influences in changes of monetary policies in big countries, said US
or Euro zones like Britain, it is through capital movements. But capital
movements are in or out, capital movements cannot move in or out freely in China.
So the influence on the rest of the world’s economy of changes in monetary
policy are heavily muted by existence of capital controls.
Q: You know the leadership of Federal Reserve and PBOC has both changed
recently. What do you think of the financial policy trend of China and US will
A: Speaking of the US, I do not know Mr. Powell, the new chairman, but
he has been a member of Federal Reserve for a number of years. And it’s a
collective decision in the United States, the president is out of the loop, the
president does not determine monetary policy, it’s the open market committee of
the Federal Reserve that determine it. Powell has been a member of this, deeply
immersed with all of those debates that’s going on inside the board, I think he
will be a source of continuity in Federal Reserve policy. But of course, Federal
Reserve policy will be influenced by the American economy, the way
circumstances are now, growth looks like it is relatively good in the US
economy. And under the circumstances, I would expect to see some tightening of
monetary policy in the next 18 months, but not because Yellen is retired, and
Powell has replaced her, I would say the same thing even Yellen be reappointed.
So this is the continuity of process, influenced by the external environment, not
a change of leadership.
Q: Do you think will there be any conflict between China and US
economy? Regarding the financial field and the international market?
A: Not at the moment, but it’s possible that some economies are growing
more slowly, and the other is growing very rapidly, therefore they want to
pursue different monetary policies, because of the circumstances in each
country, that can happen from time to time. Again, China’s economy is more
isolated because of its capital controls, if you just look at the current
circumstances, I don’t see any particular conflict between the two.