The paper identifies and evaluates consequences for monetary policy of five features of East Asian development: export orientation, integrated regional trade, bank-dependent finance, the potential for persistent trade surpluses, and the aggressive accumulation of international reserves. The case for a flexible exchange rate is made in terms of the New Neoclassical Synthesis (NNS). NNS logic indicates why fluctuations in "export optimism" create problems for the sustainability of a fixed exchange rate. Cooperative credit policy in East Asia is discussed by analogy to a credit union. The paper outlines problems for monetary policy created by bank-dependent finance in East Asia. A two-country NNS model indicates that a revaluation of the renminbi against the U.S. dollar is likely to exert little effect on the U.S. trade deficit, although it should help control inflation in China. The paper argues that China can adopt a flexible exchange rate in a few years with modest reforms of its banking system. Finally, the paper considers various reasons for the accumulation of international reserves in East Asia.
Keywords: East Asia; Monetary policy; Banking policy; Exchange rates; Trade balance; International reserves