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Reverse causality in global current accounts


  • Schnabl, Gunther
  • Freitag, Stephan


The paper discusses global imbalances under the aspect of an asymmetric world monetary system. It identifies the US and Germany as center countries with rising / high current account deficits (US) and surpluses (Germany). These are matched by current account surpluses of countries stabilizing their exchange rates against the dollar (dollar periphery) and current account deficits of countries stabilizing their exchange rate against the euro (euro periphery). Meanwhile, the aggregate current account balance of the euro area has been by and large balanced. The paper finds that changes of world current account positions are affected by the macroeconomic policy decisions both in the centers and peripheries, albeit the centers – due to structural characteristics related to size – are argued to have a higher degree of freedom in macroeconomic policy making. In specific, expansionary monetary policy in the US as well as exchange rate stabilization and sterilization policies in the dollar periphery are found to have contributed to global current account imbalances. Given that the sample period for the analysis extends from 1981-2008, the results for Germany mostly capture the situation before the euro was created. JEL Classification: F31, F32

Suggested Citation

  • Schnabl, Gunther & Freitag, Stephan, 2010. "Reverse causality in global current accounts," Working Paper Series 1208, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20101208

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christophe Hurlin & Baptiste Venet, 2008. "Financial Development and Growth: A Re-Examination using a Panel Granger Causality Test," Working Papers halshs-00319995, HAL.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ronald McKinnon & Gunther Schnabl, 2012. "China and Its Dollar Exchange Rate: A Worldwide Stabilising Influence?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(6), pages 667-693, June.
    2. Gunther Schnabl & Holger Zemanek, 2010. "Inter-temporal Savings, Current Account Dynamics and Asymmetric Shocks in a Heterogeneous European Monetary Union," CESifo Working Paper Series 3279, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Schnabl, Gunther, 2013. "The global move into the zero interest rate and high debt trap," Working Papers 121, University of Leipzig, Faculty of Economics and Management Science.
    4. Gunther Schnabl, 2011. "The role of the chinese dollar peg for macroeconomic stability in China and the world economy," Global Financial Markets Working Paper Series 13-2010, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    5. Belke, Ansgar & Schnabl, Gunther, 2010. "Finanzkrise, globale Liquidität und makroökonomischer Exit," IBES Diskussionsbeiträge 184, University of Duisburg-Essen, Institute of Business and Economic Studie (IBES).
    6. Ilir MITEZA, 2012. "Fiscal Deficits, Current Deficits and Investment: A Panel Causality Framework of 20 OECD countries," Applied Econometrics and International Development, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 12(1).
    7. Andreas Hoffmann & Gunther Schnabl, 2011. "National Monetary Policy, Internatinal Economic Instability and Feeback Effects - An Overinvestment View," Global Financial Markets Working Paper Series 19-2011, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.

    More about this item


    Asymmetric World Monetary System; global imbalances; Granger Causality Tests; International Currency; Sterilization; Twin Deficit; Twin Surplus;

    JEL classification:

    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements

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