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(Why) Should Current Account Balances Be Reduced?

Author

Listed:
  • Olivier Blanchard
  • Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti

Abstract

The purpose of this note is to discuss two complex issues. First, why might a country want to reduce its current account deficit or surplus? And second, why might the international community ask for more? We argue that, in many cases, current account balances reflect underlying domestic distortions. It is then in the interest of the country to remove those distortions and, in the process, reduce imbalances. We then discuss cases where spillover effects, either from deficits or surpluses, suggest a direct role for multilateral surveillance. This process can play two potentially useful roles: first, as a discussion of the differences in assessments; second, as a potentially useful commitment device for countries to implement some of the required but politically unpalatable fiscal or structural adjustments.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivier Blanchard & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2012. "(Why) Should Current Account Balances Be Reduced?," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 60(1), pages 139-150, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:imfecr:v:60:y:2012:i:1:p:139-150
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Stitching together the global financial safety net
      by bankunderground in Bank Underground on 2016-07-22 11:30:14

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    1. repec:bis:bisbps:95 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Moral-Benito, Enrique & Roehn, Oliver, 2016. "The impact of financial regulation on current account balances," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 148-166.
    3. Paolo Bianchi & Bruno Deschamps & Khurshid M. Kiani, 2015. "Fiscal Balance and Current Account in Professional Forecasts," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(2), pages 361-378, May.
    4. Jamel Saadaoui, 2012. "Global Imbalances: Should We Use Fundamental Equilibrium Exchange Rates?," Working Papers halshs-00750551, HAL.
    5. Vincent Duwicquet & Jacques Mazier & Jamel Saadaoui, 2013. "Désajustements de change, fédéralisme budgétaire et redistribution. Comment s'ajuster en union monétaire," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 0(1), pages 57-96.
    6. Maurice Obstfeld & Alan M. Taylor, 2017. "International Monetary Relations: Taking Finance Seriously," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 3-28, Summer.
    7. Saadaoui, Jamel, 2015. "Global imbalances: Should we use fundamental equilibrium exchange rates?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 383-398.
    8. Jamel Saadaoui, 2015. "Does financial openness explain the increase of global imbalances before the crisis of 2008?," International Economics, CEPII research center, issue 143, pages 23-35.
    9. Denbee, Edd & Jung, Carsten & Paternò, Francesco, 2016. "Stitching together the global financial safety net," Bank of England Financial Stability Papers 36, Bank of England.
    10. Stijn Claessens & M. Ayhan Kose, 2017. "Asset prices and macroeconomic outcomes: A survey," CAMA Working Papers 2017-76, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    11. Vogel, Lukas, 2014. "Nontradable sector reform and external rebalancing in monetary union: A model-based analysis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 421-434.
    12. Bernhard Herz & Stefan Hohberger, 2013. "Fiscal Policy, Monetary Regimes and Current Account Dynamics," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(1), pages 118-136, February.
    13. Wong Hock Tsen, 2014. "External Balance And Budget In Malaysia," Asian Academy of Management Journal of Accounting and Finance (AAMJAF), Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia, vol. 10(2), pages 37-54.
    14. Philip R. Lane, 2015. "International Financial Flows in Low-Income Countries," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(1), pages 49-72, February.
    15. Saadaoui, Jamel, 2012. "Déséquilibres globaux, taux de change d’équilibre et modélisation stock-flux cohérente
      [Global Imbalances, Equilibrium Exchange Rates and Stock-Flow Consistent Modelling]
      ," MPRA Paper 51332, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. repec:eee:asieco:v:51:y:2017:i:c:p:23-32 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Vincent Duwicquet & Jacques Mazier & Jamel Saadaoui, 2016. "Interest rates, Eurobonds and intra-European exchange rate misalignments," Post-Print hal-01359820, HAL.
    18. Chiu, Yi-Bin & Sun, Chia-Hung D., 2016. "The role of savings rate in exchange rate and trade imbalance nexus: Cross-countries evidence," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 52(PB), pages 1017-1025.
    19. Eichengreen, Barry & Tong, Hui, 2015. "Effects of renminbi appreciation on foreign firms: The role of processing exports," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 146-157.

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