Reducing large net foreign liabilities
In light of persistently large net foreign liability NFL) positions in several euro area countries, we analyse 138 episodes of sizeable NFL reductions for a broad sample of advanced and emerging economies. We provide stylised facts on the channels through which NFLs were reduced and estimate factors which make episodes ‘stable’, i.e. sustained over the medium term. Our ﬁndings show that while GDP growth and valuation effects contribute most to NFL reductions overall, stable reduction episodes also require positive transaction effects (i.e. current account surpluses), in particular in advanced economies. Considering the different components of a country’s external balance sheet, we observe that reduction episodes were almost exclusively driven by a decline in gross external liabilities in emerging economies, while in advanced economies also gross external asset accumulation contributed signiﬁcantly, in particular in stable episodes. Our econometric analysis shows that NFL reductions are more likely to be sustained if a country records strong average real GDP growth during an episode and exits the episode with a larger current account surplus. Moreover, we ﬁnd evidence that nominal effective exchange rate depreciation during an episode is helpful for achieving episode stability in the short run, while IMF programmes and sovereign debt restructurings also contribute to longer term stability. JEL Classification: F21, F32, F34
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