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Effectiveness of Capital Controls in India: Evidence from the Offshore NDF Market

Michael Hutchison (), Gurnain Pasricha () and Nirvikar Singh ()

IMF Economic Review, 2012, vol. 60, issue 3, 395-438

Abstract: This paper examines the effectiveness of international capital controls in India over time by analyzing daily return differentials in the nondeliverable forward (NDF) markets using the self-exciting threshold autoregressive (SETAR) methodology. The paper presents a narrative on the evolution of capital controls in India and calculates a new index of capital account liberalization using cumulative monthly changes in restrictions on inflows and outflows. It employs the de jure indices of changes in restrictions on capital inflows and outflows to identify particular policy episodes, and tests the de facto effects of restrictions by calculating deviations from covered interest parity (CIP) utilizing data from the three-month offshore nondeliverable rupee forward market. The paper estimates no-arbitrage bands for each episode using SETAR where boundaries are determined by transactions costs and by the effectiveness of capital controls. It finds that Indian capital controls are asymmetric over inflows and outflows, have changed at one stage from primarily restricting outflows to effectively restricting inflows; and that arbitrage activity closes deviations from CIP when the threshold boundaries are exceeded in all subperiods. Moreover, the results indicate a significant reduction in the barriers to arbitrage since 2009, suggesting that gradual liberalization of India's capital account has played an important role in integrating onshore and offshore markets. The paper also applies the methodology to the Chinese RMB NDF market and find that capital controls are strictly limiting capital inflows with the exception of two periods of regional and international financial turbulence. The intensity of Chinese controls varies over time, indicating discretion in the application of capital control policy but, unlike India, shows no sign of gradual relaxation or liberalization.

Date: 2012
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