The U.S. External Deficit and the Developing Countries
In the absence of US fiscal adjustment and a further correction of the dollar, the current account deficit is headed to $1.3 trillion by 2010 (8 to 8.5 percent of GDP) and net US foreign liabilities to over $8 trillion (50 percent of GDP). According to CGD/IIE Senior Fellow William R. Cline, the rising trade deficit and associated borrowing from abroad are now financing a decline in personal saving and a rise in the government deficit. This imbalance will increasingly put the US economy—and the developing countries—at risk. This working paper focuses on the impact that the US external deficit and a possible “hard landing” for the US and world economies will have on developing countries. Cline finds that these countries are at risk since they have relied heavily on a continuing expansion of trade surpluses with the United States as a source of demand. Developing countries with high borrowing abroad are also doubly sensitive to a spike in world interest rates—once directly from higher US interest rates, and once indirectly through higher risk spreads—that might be associated with a hard landing. This Working Paper is based on The United States as a Debtor Nation, a book published in 2005 by the Center for Global Development and the Institute for International Economics.
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