The Dollar, the Yen, or the RMB? A Survey Data Analysis of Invoicing Currencies among Japanese Overseas Subsidiaries

Author Name ITO Takatoshi (Columbia University) / KOIBUCHI Satoshi (Chuo University) / SATO Kiyotaka (Yokohama National University) / SHIMIZU Junko (Gakushuin University) / YOSHIMI Taiyo (Chuo University)
Creation Date/NO. March 2021 21-E-016
Research Project Exchange Rates and International Currency
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The purpose of this study is to analyze the factors that promote the usage of local currencies in Japanese trade in Asia by utilizing a large-scale firm-level questionnaire survey in 2018 on Japanese overseas subsidiaries in Asia and to discover why the usage of Asian currencies has increased recently.

The major findings are as follows: first, with respect to the choice of invoicing currency, subsidiaries with large sales tended to choose the U.S. dollar while those with small sales tended to choose the yen or local currency; second, subsidiaries established for sales to the local market tended to choose the local currency; third, overseas subsidiaries tended to unify the transaction currency on both the import and export sides, a practice called the natural hedge; fourth, subsidiaries with large local currency borrowing, a high share of local procurement, and a joint venture with local firms who try to maximize their profits measured using local currency, tend to adopt local currency invoicing. These results suggest that the role of the U.S. dollar as the main invoice currency is in decline, as Japanese exporting firms move away from using Asian subsidiaries as a platform to export to the United States and increasingly use Asian subsidiaries as a local sales base in Asian countries and an export platform to China and back to Japan.