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Could capital gains smooth a current account rebalancing?

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  • Michele Cavallo
  • Cedric Tille

Abstract

A narrowing of the U.S. current account deficit through exchange rate movements is likely to entail a substantial depreciation of the dollar, as stressed in research by Obstfeld and Rogoff. We assess how the adjustment is affected by the high degree of financial integration in the world economy. A growing body of research emphasizes the increasing leverage in international financial positions, with industrialized economies holding substantial and growing financial claims on each other. Exchange rate movements then lead to valuation effects as the currency composition of a country's assets and liabilities are not matched. In particular, a dollar depreciation generates valuation gains for the United States by boosting the dollar value of much of its foreign-currency-denominated assets. We consider an adjustment scenario in which the U.S. net external debt is held constant. The key finding is that as the current account moves into balance, the pace of adjustment is smooth. Intuitively, the valuation gains from the depreciation of the dollar allow the United States to finance ongoing, albeit shrinking, current account deficits. We find that the smooth pattern of adjustment is robust to alternative scenarios, although the ultimate movements in exchange rates will vary under different conditions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 237.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:237

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Keywords: International finance ; Foreign exchange ; Dollar; American;

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  1. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 2004. "The Unsustainable US Current Account Position Revisited," NBER Working Papers 10869, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Philip Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferreti, 2005. "A Global Perspective on External Positions," Trinity Economics Papers 2000516, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  3. Philip R. Lane & Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2003. "International Financial Integration," IMF Working Papers 03/86, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Cedric Tille, 2005. "Financial Integration and the Wealth Effect of Exchange Rate Fluctuations," 2005 Meeting Papers 282, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Michael P. Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter Garber, 2007. "Direct Investment, Rising Real Wages and the Absorption of Excess Labor in the Periphery," NBER Chapters, in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 103-132 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Helene Rey, 2005. "International Financial Adjustment," NBER Working Papers 11155, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Goldberg, Linda S. & Tille, Cédric, 2008. "Vehicle currency use in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 177-192, December.
  8. David Backus & Espen Henriksen & Frederic Lambert & Christopher Telmer, 2009. "Current Account Fact and Fiction," NBER Working Papers 15525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2005. "Global Current Account Imbalances and Exchange Rate Adjustments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 36(1), pages 67-146.
  10. Blanchard, Olivier & Giavazzi, Francesco & Sa, Filipa, 2005. "The US Current Account and the Dollar," CEPR Discussion Papers 4888, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Philip R. Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2005. "Financial Globalisation and Exchange Rates," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp044, IIIS.
  12. Hamid Faruqee & Douglas Laxton & Dirk Muir & Paolo A. Pesenti, 2007. "Smooth Landing or Crash? Model-Based Scenarios of Global Current Account Rebalancing," NBER Chapters, in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 377-456 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Farhi, Emmanuel & Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier, 2008. "An Equilibrium Model of "Global Imbalances" and Low Interest Rates," Scholarly Articles 3229094, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Richard H. Clarida, 2006. "G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment," NBER Working Papers 12194, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Obstfeld, Maurice, 2004. "External Adjustment," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt7bw468wx, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  16. Michael P. Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter M. Garber, 2005. "Savings Gluts and Interest Rates: The Missing Link to Europe," NBER Working Papers 11520, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Matthew Higgins & Thomas Klitgaard, 2004. "Reserve accumulation: implications for global capital flows and financial markets," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 10(Sep).
  18. Olivier Blanchard & Francesco Giavazzi & Filipa Sa, 2005. "International Investors, the U.S. Current Account, and the Dollar," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 36(1), pages 1-66.
  19. Matthew Higgins & Thomas Klitgaard & Cedric Tille, 2005. "The income implications of rising U.S. international liabilities," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 11(Dec).
  20. Cedric Tille, 2003. "The impact of exchange rate movements on U.S. foreign debt," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 9(Jan).
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