The Chinese Inflation, 1937-1949

By Shun-Hsin Chou | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I The Pattern of the Chinese Inflation

PATTERN OF THE INFLATION IN THE FAPI AREA

This section studies the movements of China's commodity prices and note circulations in the course of inflation and the interrelations between the changes of these two economic series. It is designed to provide an over-all view of the Chinese inflation prior to exploring its relationship with the various segments of the economy. Because of the peculiarity of the Chinese statistics, it is desirable to make a few observations concerning the nature of the data on note issues and prices used in the present study and the problem of their selection.

For the statistics of fapi note issue, there is no question of selection; the data compiled by the Department of Issue of the Central Bank of China are the only such series available. These data, which were taken from unpublished records of the Central Bank, are used in the present study. While fragmentary information about the Chinese notes issued during 1937-49 did appear occasionally in publications, complete statistics for the entire period have never been officially released by the Nationalist government. 1 The statistics of the Department of Issue give only the total amount of notes outstanding at specific dates as recorded by the department; they do not show the average circulation for each period or the amount of notes in the Bank's vaults other than those of the Department of Issue. 2 Information on average circulation is essential for a close comparison of the note-issue statistics with those of commodity prices, which are usually given in monthly averages. Information on the note holdings in the Bank's vault is important for a correct estimate of the currency actually in circulation outside the Central Bank. Consequently the result of the present study can represent only a crude approximation of actual conditions.

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