The Chinese Inflation, 1937-1949

By Shun-Hsin Chou | Go to book overview

Introduction

The Chinese inflation had many characteristics. Some of these were unique in the Chinese inflation, and some were similar to other cases of inflation. The characteristics, which will be explored in subsequent discussion, are the monetary areas, the stages, the dual economy, the question of demand-pull vs. cost-push, the effects of monetary factors on inflation, and the social implications of the inflation.

The monetary areas. A study of the Chinese inflation requires segregation of the inflationary process into several subprocesses. Each of these subprocesses, operating in a separate currency area, had its own characteristics. The most important among these currency areas were the fapi area, the Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) note area and the Central Reserve Bank (CRB) note area, Manchuria during the Japanese occupation, postwar Manchuria and Taiwan, and the Chinese communist area before 1950.

Fapi, the Chinese equivalent of legal tender, was the standard paper money used in the area under the control of the Nationalist government during 1935-48. The note was then displaced as legal tender by the gold yuan note in August, 1948. In July, 1949, the gold yuan was in turn superseded by the silver yuan note. For the sake of simplicity, the fapi area is used in this study to denote the currency area using these three Nationalist's notes in succession during the inflation (see Chapter IV for details of the Chinese currencies).

In the course of the war, Japan issued three major currencies in various parts of China which were under Japanese occupation. They were notes issued by the Central Bank of Manchou for circulation in Manchuria during 1933-45, by the Federal Reserve Banks in north China during 1938-45, and by the Central Reserve Banks in south

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