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On Current Account Surpluses and the Correction of Global Imbalances

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  • Sebastian Edwards

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 -- with Japan and the Euro Zone growing faster, and the U.S. moderating its 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 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12904.

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Date of creation: Feb 2007
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Publication status: published as Cowan, Kevin, Sebastian Edwards, and Rodrigo O Valdes (eds.) Current Account and External Financing, Series on Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies, vol. 12. Santiago: Central Bank of Chile, 2008.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12904

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Cited by:
  1. Rabah Arezki & Fuad Hasanov, 2013. "Global Imbalances and Petrodollars," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(2), pages 213-232, 02.
  2. Chris Hunt, 2008. "Financial turmoil and global imbalances: the end of Bretton Woods II?," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 71, September.
  3. Blaise Gnimasoun & Valérie Mignon, 2013. "Current-account adjustments and exchange-rate misalignments," EconomiX Working Papers 2013-31, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
  4. Alessandro Rebucci & Nicoletta Batini & Pietro Cova & Massimiliano Pisani, 2009. "Global Imbalances," IMF Working Papers 09/63, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Aizenman, Joshua & Sun, Yi, 2010. "Globalization and the sustainability of large current account imbalances: Size matters," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 35-44, March.
  6. Subir Lall & Roberto Cardarelli & Selim Elekdag, 2009. "Financial Stress, Downturns, and Recoveries," IMF Working Papers 09/100, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Cardarelli, Roberto & Elekdag, Selim & Lall, Subir, 2011. "Financial stress and economic contractions," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 78-97, June.
  8. Bragoli, Daniela & Ganugi, Piero & Ianulardo, Giancarlo, 2009. "Gini’s Transvariation Analysis : An Application on Financial Crises in Developing Countries," Department of Economics Working Papers 15963, University of Bath, Department of Economics.
  9. repec:eid:wpaper:16/09 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Yang, Lucun, 2011. "An Empirical Analysis of Current Account Determinants in Emerging Asian Economies," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2011/10, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section.

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