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Could capital gains smooth a current account rebalancing?

  • Michele Cavallo
  • Cédric Tille

A narrowing of the U.S. current account deficit through exchange rate movements is likely to entail a substantial depreciation of the dollar, as stressed in the widely cited contribution by Obstfeld and Rogoff (2005). We assess how the adjustment is affected by the high degree of international financial integration in the world economy. A growing body of research stresses the increasing leverage in international financial positions, with industrialized economies holding substantial and growing financial claims on each other. Exchange rate movements then leads to valuations effects as the currency compositions of a country's assets and liabilities are not matched. In particular, a dollar depreciation generates valuation gains for the U.S. by boosting the dollar value of the large amount of its foreign-currency denominated assets. We consider an adjustment scenario in which the U.S. net external debt is held constant. The key finding is that while the current account moves into balance, the pace of adjustment is smooth. Intuitively, the valuation gains stemming from the depreciation of the dollar allow the U.S. to finance ongoing, albeit shrinking, current account deficits. We find that the smooth pattern of adjustment is robust to alternative scenarios, although the ultimate movements in exchange rates are affected.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2006-03.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2006-03
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  1. Philip Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferreti, 2005. "A Global Perspective on External Positions," Trinity Economics Papers tep16, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  2. Goldberg, Linda S. & Tille, Cédric, 2008. "Vehicle currency use in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 177-192, December.
  3. Ricardo J Caballero & Emmanuel Farhi & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, 2006. "An equilibrum model of "global imbalances" and low interest rates," BIS Working Papers 222, Bank for International Settlements.
  4. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 2007. "The Unsustainable U.S. Current Account Position Revisited," NBER Chapters, in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 339-376 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Kenneth Rogoff & William Brainard & George Perry, . "Global Current Account Imbalances and Exchange Rate Adjustments," Working Paper 33687, Harvard University OpenScholar.
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  7. Michael P. Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter M. Garber, 2005. "Savings Gluts and Interest Rates: The Missing Link to Europe," NBER Working Papers 11520, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Maurice Obstfeld, 2004. "External Adjustment," NBER Working Papers 10843, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Philip R. Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2005. "Financial Globalisation and Exchange Rates," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp044, IIIS.
  10. Michael P. Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter Garber, 2007. "Direct Investment, Rising Real Wages and the Absorption of Excess Labor in the Periphery," NBER Chapters, in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 103-132 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, & Philip R. Lane, 2003. "International Financial Integration," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp03, IIIS.
  12. Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier & Rey, Hélène, 2005. "International Financial Adjustment," CEPR Discussion Papers 4923, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Hamid Faruqee & Douglas Laxton & Dirk Muir & Paolo Pesenti, 2005. "Smooth Landing or Crash? Model-Based Scenarios of Global Current Account Rebalancing," NBER Working Papers 11583, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Matthew Higgins & Thomas Klitgaard, 2004. "Reserve accumulation: implications for global capital flows and financial markets," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 10(Sep).
  15. Matthew Higgins & Thomas Klitgaard & Cedric Tille, 2005. "The income implications of rising U.S. international liabilities," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 11(Dec).
  16. Olivier Blanchard & Francesco Giavazzi & Filipa Sa, 2005. "The U.S. Current Account and the Dollar," NBER Working Papers 11137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Nouriel Roubini & Brad Setser, 2005. "The Sustainability of the US External Imbalances," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 6(1), pages 08-15, 04.
  18. Olivier Blanchard & Francesco Giavazzi & Filipa Sa, 2005. "International Investors, the U.S. Current Account, and the Dollar," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 36(1), pages 1-66.
  19. Richard H. Clarida, 2007. "G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number clar06-2.
  20. Cedric Tille, 2003. "The impact of exchange rate movements on U.S. foreign debt," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 9(Jan).
  21. David Backus & Espen Henriksen & Frederic Lambert & Chris Telmer, 2005. "Current Account Fact and Fiction," 2005 Meeting Papers 115, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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