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International Investments and Current Account Imbalances: The Importance of Valuation Changes

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  • Guido Baldi
  • Björn Bremer
  • Thore Schlaak

Abstract

Global capital flows have strongly increased from the 1980s until the outbreak of the financial crisis. As a result of this development, Germany's foreign investment has risen to around 250 percent of gross domestic product while foreign investments in Germany have increased to about 200 percent of Germany’s gross domestic product. This positive difference between Germany’s assets and liabilities is a result of the country’s continuous current account surpluses, which represent net financial flows – the difference between outflows and inflows. Investments abroad offer investors the opportunity to diversify their savings and possibly generate higher returns than in Germany. In return, however, foreign investment also entails risks; fluctuations in price and exchange rates can lead to high losses. Potential value fluctuations on international investments are relevant for Germany. German policy advisors controversially discuss whether additional investment in domestic infrastructure or research and development would yield higher and less volatile returns than some of Germany’s foreign investments.

Suggested Citation

  • Guido Baldi & Björn Bremer & Thore Schlaak, 2017. "International Investments and Current Account Imbalances: The Importance of Valuation Changes," DIW Roundup: Politik im Fokus 117, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwrup:117en
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    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.572528.de/DIW_Roundup_117_en.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. S. Bach & G. Baldi & K. Bernoth & J. Blazejczak & B. Bremer & J. Diekmann & D. Edler & B. Farkas & F. Fichtner & M. Fratzscher & M. Gornig & C. Kemfert & U. Kunert & H. Link & K. Neuhoff & W.-P. Schil, 2013. "Germany Must Invest More in Its Future," DIW Economic Bulletin, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 3(8), pages 3-4.
    2. Rogoff, Kenneth S. & Tashiro, Takeshi, 2015. "Japan’s exorbitant privilege," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 43-61.
    3. Lane, Philip R. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2007. "The external wealth of nations mark II: Revised and extended estimates of foreign assets and liabilities, 1970-2004," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 223-250, November.
    4. Katharina Bergant, 2017. "The Role of Stock-Flow Adjustment during the Global Financial Crisis," Trinity Economics Papers tep1317, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    5. Eichengreen, Barry, 2012. "Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199642472.
    6. repec:hrv:faseco:34299169 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Guido Baldi & Björn Bremer, 2015. "The Evolution of Germany’s Net Foreign Asset Position," DIW Economic Bulletin, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 5(22/23), pages 303-309.
    8. Thierry Bracke & Martin Schmitz, 2011. "Channels of international risk-sharing: capital gains versus income flows," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 45-78, April.
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