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On Current Account Surpluses and the Correction of Global Imbalances

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  • Sebastián Edwards
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    Abstract

    In this paper I analyze the nature of external adjustments in current account surplus countries. I ask whether a realignment of world growth rates -- with Japan and Europe growing faster, and the U.S. growing more slowly -- is likely to solve the current situation of global imbalances. The main findings may be summarized as follows: (a) there is an important asymmetry between current account deficits and surpluses. (b) Large surpluses exhibit little persistence through time. (c) Large and abrupt reductions in surpluses are a rare phenomenon. (d) A decline in GDP growth, relative to long term trend, of 1 percentage point results in an improvement in the current account balance -- higher surplus or lower deficit -- of one quarter of a percentage point of GDP. Taken together, these results indicate that a realignment of global growth would only make a modest contribution towards the resolution of global imbalances. This means that, even if there is a realignment of global growth, the world is likely to need significant exchange rate movements. This analysis also suggests that a reduction in China's (very) large surplus will be needed if global imbalances are to be resolved.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Working Papers Central Bank of Chile with number 440.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:440

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    1. Norman Loayza & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Luis Servén, 1999. "What Drives Private Saving Across the World?," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 47, Central Bank of Chile.
    2. James M. Nason & John H. Rogers, 2003. "The present-value model of the current account has been rejected: round up the usual suspects," International Finance Discussion Papers 760, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Aart Kraay & Jaume Ventura, 2000. "Current Accounts In Debtor And Creditor Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1137-1166, November.
    4. Eichengreen, Barry & Rose, Andrew K & Wyplosz, Charles, 1996. "Contagious Currency Crises," CEPR Discussion Papers 1453, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Robert J. Barro, 2012. "Inflation and Economic Growth," CEMA Working Papers 568, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
    6. Menzie D. Chinn & Eswar S. Prasad, 2000. "Medium-Term Determinants of Current Accounts in Industrial and Developing Countries: An Empirical Exploration," NBER Working Papers 7581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Eichengreen, Barry, 2003. "Three generations of crises, three generations of crisis models," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(7), pages 1089-1094, December.
    8. Jacques Miniane & Benoît Mercereau, 2004. "Challenging the Empirical Evidence From Present Value Models of the Current Account," IMF Working Papers 04/106, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Aizenman, Joshua, 1983. "A theory of current account and exchange rate determinations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 261-280, September.
    10. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, December.
    11. Eichengreen, Barry & Rose, Andrew & Wyplosz, Charles, 1996. " Contagious Currency Crises: First Tests," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 98(4), pages 463-84, December.
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    Cited by:
    1. Fuad Hasanov & Rabah Arezki, 2009. "Global Imbalances and Petrodollars," IMF Working Papers 09/89, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Subir Lall & Roberto Cardarelli & Selim Elekdag, 2009. "Financial Stress, Downturns, and Recoveries," IMF Working Papers 09/100, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Alessandro Rebucci & Nicoletta Batini & Pietro Cova & Massimiliano Pisani, 2009. "Global Imbalances," IMF Working Papers 09/63, International Monetary Fund.

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