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The US Current Account and the Dollar

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  • Blanchard, Olivier
  • Giavazzi, Francesco
  • Sa, Filipa

Abstract

There are two main forces behind the large US current account deficits. First, an increase in the US demand for foreign goods. Second, an increase in the foreign demand for US assets. Both forces have contributed to steadily increasing current account deficits since the mid-1990s. This increase has been accompanied by a real dollar appreciation until late 2001, and a real depreciation since. The depreciation has accelerated recently, raising the questions of whether and how much more is to come, and if so, against which currencies, the euro, the yen, or the renminbi. Our purpose in this paper is to explore these issues. Our theoretical contribution is to develop a simple portfolio model of exchange rate and current account determination, and to use it to interpret the past and explore alternative scenarios for the future. Our practical conclusions are that substantially more depreciation is to come, surely against the yen and the renminbi, and probably against the euro.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4888.

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Date of creation: Feb 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4888

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Keywords: current account; dollar exchange rate; portfolio models;

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  1. Henderson, Dale W. & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1982. "Negative net foreign asset positions and stability in a world portfolio balance model," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1-2), pages 85-104, August.
  2. Lane, Philip R. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2004. "Financial Globalization and Exchange Rates," CEPR Discussion Papers 4745, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth S, 2005. "The Unsustainable US Current Account Position Revisited," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt4f63x50j, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  4. Dornbusch, Rudiger, 1976. "Expectations and Exchange Rate Dynamics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1161-76, December.
  5. Houthakker, Hendrik S & Magee, Stephen P, 1969. "Income and Price Elasticities in World Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(2), pages 111-25, May.
  6. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Hélène Rey, 2007. "International Financial Adjustment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(4), pages 665-703, 08.
  7. Ricardo J. Caballero & Emmanuel Farhi & Mohamad L. Hammour, 2006. "Speculative Growth: Hints from the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1159-1192, September.
  8. Menzie D. Chinn, 2003. "Doomed to Deficits? Aggregate U.S. Trade Flows Re-Examined," NBER Working Papers 9521, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Ricardo J. Caballero & Mohamad L. Hammour, 2002. "Speculative Growth," NBER Working Papers 9381, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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