To What Extent Are Tariffs Offset By Exchange Rates?
In theory, we should expect tariffs to be partially offset by a currency appreciation in the tariff-imposing country or by a depreciation in the country on which the tariff is imposed. We find, based on a calibrated model, that the tariffs imposed by the US in 2018-19 should not have had a large impact on the dollar but may have significantly depreciated the renminbi. This prediction is consistent with a high-frequency event analysis looking at the impact of tariff-related news on the dollar and the renminbi. We find that tariffs explained at most one fifth of the dollar effective appreciation but around two thirds of the renminbi effective depreciation observed in 2018-19.
This paper is a revised version of Jeanne (2020). The earlier version benefited from comments by Egor Gornostay, Eva Zhang, and research assistance by Gloria (Xiecun) Li. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.