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Current Account Imbalances in the Southern Euro Area

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  • Florence Jaumotte
  • Piyaporn Sodsriwiboon

Abstract

The paper examines the causes, consequences, and potential cures of the large current account deficits in the Southern Euro Area (SEA). These were mostly driven by a decline in private saving rates. But it was the European Monetary Union and the Euro, which enabled these countries to maintain investment rates, and thus run larger current account deficits, by improving their access to the international pool of saving. The paper finds that the deficits in SEA in 2008 were larger than can be explained by fundamentals, though the situation varies substantially across countries. It also finds that although the global financial crisis has started to force some unwinding, the current account deficits are expected to remain high in the medium run, though again with substantial variation across countries. The paper argues these large external deficits pose risks to the economy and therefore matter, even in a currency union, and discusses some policy options to reduce them.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 10/139.

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Length: 49
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:10/139

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Related research

Keywords: Current account deficits; European Union; Global Financial Crisis 2008-2009; Private savings; current account; current accounts; current account balance; current account balances; current account deficit; capital account openness; domestic saving; current account imbalances; capital account; investment income; current account dynamics; balance of payment; current account surpluses; foreign loans; public debt; current account adjustment; government deficits; central banks; debt sustainability; private credit; domestic currency; external debt; external liabilities;

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References

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  1. Chinn, Menzie David & Ito, Hiro, 2005. "What Matters for Financial Development? Capital Controls, Institutions, and Interactions," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt5pv1j341, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  2. Abdul Abiad & Enrica Detragiache & Thierry Tressel, 2010. "A New Database of Financial Reforms," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 57(2), pages 281-302, June.
  3. Javier J. Pérez & A. Jesús Sánchez, 2009. "Is there a signalling role for public wages? Evidence for the euro area based on macro data," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0934, Banco de Espa�a.
  4. Jörg Decressin & Emil Stavrev, 2009. "Current Accounts in a Currency Union," IMF Working Papers 09/127, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Bogdan Lissovolik & Julio Escolano & Stefania Fabrizio & Werner Schule & Herman Z. Bennett & Stephen Tokarick & Yuan Xiao & Marialuz Moreno Badia & Eva Gutierrez & Iryna V. Ivaschenko, 2008. "Competitiveness in the Southern Euro Area," IMF Working Papers 08/112, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Ca' Zorzi, Michele & Chudik, Alexander & Dieppe, Alistair, 2009. "Current account benchmarks for central and eastern Europe: a desperate search?," Working Paper Series 0995, European Central Bank.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Ansgar Belke & Christian Dreger, 2011. "Current Account Imbalances in the Euro Area: Catching up or Competitiveness?," Ruhr Economic Papers 0241, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  2. Sanchez , Jose Luis Diaz & Varoudakis, Aristomene, 2013. "Growth and competitiveness as factors of Eurozone external imbalances : evidence and policy implications," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6732, The World Bank.
  3. Giavazzi, Francesco & Spaventa, Luigi, 2010. "Why the current account may matter in a monetary union: Lessons from the financial crisis in the Euro area," CEPR Discussion Papers 8008, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Harashima, Taiji, 2011. "A Mechanism of Inflation Differentials and Current Account Imbalances in the Euro Area," MPRA Paper 28121, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Gabrisch, Hubert & Staehr, Karsten, 2014. "The euro plus pact: cost competitiveness and external capital flows in the EU countries," Working Paper Series 1650, European Central Bank.
  6. Francesco Giavazzi & Luigi Spaventa, 2011. "Why the current account may matter in a monetary union. Lesson from the financial crisis in the Euro area," Working Papers 426, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  7. Hakan Kara & Cagri Sarikaya, 2013. "Turkiye’de Konjonkturel Etkilerden Arindirilmis Cari Islemler Dengesi," Working Papers 1340, Research and Monetary Policy Department, Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey.
  8. Erica Perego & Wessel N. Vermeulen, 2013. "Macroeconomic determinants of European stock and government bond relations: a tale of two regions," CREA Discussion Paper Series 13-08, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
  9. Gossé, Jean-Baptiste & Serranito, Francisco, 2014. "Long-run determinants of current accounts in OECD countries: Lessons for intra-European imbalances," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 451-462.
  10. Bussière, M. & Chudik, A. & Mehl, A., 2011. "How have global shocks impacted the real effective exchange rates of individual euro area countries since the euro's creation?," Working papers 336, Banque de France.
  11. Nils Holinski & Clemens Kool & Joan Muysken, 2012. "Persistent macroeconomic imbalances in the Euro area: causes and consequences," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 1-20.
  12. Vogel, Lukas, 2012. "Structural reforms, fiscal consolidation and external rebalancing in monetary union: A model-based analysis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 1286-1298.
  13. Hubert Gabrisch & Karsten Staehr, 2012. "The Euro Plus Pact: Competitiveness and External Capital Flows in the EU Countries," Working Papers 324, Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and South-East European Studies).
  14. Angelini, Elena & Ca' Zorzi, Michele & Forster, Katrin, 2014. "External and macroeconomic adjustment in the larger euro area countries," Working Paper Series 1647, European Central Bank.
  15. Peter Wierts & Henk van Kerkhoff & Jakob de Haan, 2012. "Trade Dynamics in the Euro Area: The role of export destination and composition," DNB Working Papers 354, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.

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