Exchange Rates and Competition for FDI in Asia
This paper argues that relative exchange rates between the host countries of foreign direct investment affect their competition for FDI. Specifically, if the host country currency appreciates against the source country's currency more than that of its rival, FDI inflows of the host country will decrease, while FDI inflows increase in the rival country. Using the data of Japanese FDI in nine Asian manufacturing sectors from 1981 to 2002, the paper examines the hypothesis in the context of the competition between China and ASEAN-4 (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand). Empirical results show that the relative exchange rate is a statistically significant factor that determines the relative inflows of Japanese FDI for manufacturing as a whole, and for such sub-sectors as textiles, food, electronics, transportation equipment, and others. Exchange rate policies of China and ASEAN-4 played a critical role in dynamically reshaping the geographic distribution of Japanese FDI in Asia.