Those Current Account Imbalances: A Sceptical View -super-1
The international current account imbalances, where the United States has a vast deficit, and several countries, notably Japan, China, Germany and the oil exporters have corresponding surpluses, are usually seen as problems. The argument here is that current account imbalances simply indicate intertemporal trade - the exchange of goods and services for claims. There are likely to be gains from trade of that kind as from ordinary trade. What, then, are the problems? This paper considers five scenarios, notably one where net savings of the surplus countries decline so that the world real interest rate rises, and another where the US fiscal deficit is reduced, so that the world real interest rate falls and there could be a worldwide aggregate demand problem, essentially caused by the high net savings of the surplus countries. The paper reviews the reasons for the large surpluses in terms of savings and investment ratios (especially China) and also discusses the long-term problem for the United States. While four of the scenarios involve a decline in the dollar, they do not necessarily imply a sudden - and even 'disruptive'- dollar crisis. Copyright 2007 The Author Journal compilation 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd .
Volume (Year): 30 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (03)
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