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External Imbalances in the Euro Area

  • Ruo Chen
  • Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti
  • Thierry Tressel

The paper examines the extent to which current account imbalances of euro area countries are related to intra-euro area factors and to external trade shocks. We argue that the traditional explanations for the rising imbalances are correct, but are incomplete. We uncover a large impact of declines in export competitiveness and asymmetric trade developments vis-à-vis the rest of the world –in particular vis-à-vis China, Central and Eastern Europe, and oil exporters- on the external balance of euro area debtor countries. While current account imbalances of euro area deficit countries vis-à-vis the rest of the world increased, they were financed mostly by intra-euro area capital inflows (in particular by the purchase of government and financial institutions’ securities, and cross-border interbank lending) which permitted external imbalances to grow over time.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 12/236.

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Length: 49
Date of creation: 28 Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:12/236
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  1. Joakim Westerlund, 2007. "Testing for Error Correction in Panel Data," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 69(6), pages 709-748, December.
  2. Lane, Philip R. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2006. "The External Wealth of Nations Mark II: Revised and Extended Estimates of Foreign Assets and Liabilities, 1970-2004," CEPR Discussion Papers 5644, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan & Elias Papaioannou & José-Luis Peydró, 2009. "What Lies Beneath the Euro's Effect on Financial Integration: Currency Risk, Legal Harmonization, or Trade?," NBER Working Papers 15034, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Sven Blank & Claudia M Buch, 2007. "The Euro and Cross-Border Banking: Evidence from Bilateral Data," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 49(3), pages 389-410, September.
  6. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1992. "Saving, Growth and Liquidity Constraints," CEPR Discussion Papers 662, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Mark M. Spiegel, 2009. "Monetary and financial integration: Evidence from the EMU," NBER Chapters, in: Financial Globalization, 20th Anniversary Conference, NBER-TCER-CEPR National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Nicolas Coeurdacier & Philippe Martin, 2009. "The geography of asset trade and the euro: Insiders and outsiders," NBER Chapters, in: Financial Globalization, 20th Anniversary Conference, NBER-TCER-CEPR National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Philip R. Lane, 2006. "Global Bond Portfolios and EMU," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp168, IIIS.
  10. Alejandro Micco & Ernesto H. Stein & Guillermo Luis Ordoñez, 2003. "The Currency Union Effect on Trade: Early Evidence from EMU," Research Department Publications 4339, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  11. Bayoumi, Tamim, 1998. "Estimating Trade Equations from Aggregate Bilateral Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 1970, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Mark M. Spiegel, 2009. "Monetary and Financial Integration in the EMU: Push or Pull?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(4), pages 751-776, 09.
  13. Choi, In, 2001. "Unit root tests for panel data," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 249-272, April.
  14. Michael D. Bordo & Lars Jonung & Agnieszka Markiewicz, 2013. "A Fiscal Union for the Euro: Some Lessons from History ," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 59(3), pages 449-488, September.
  15. Olivier Blanchard, 2007. "Adjustment within the euro. The difficult case of Portugal," Portuguese Economic Journal, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 1-21, April.
  16. Philip R. Lane, 2006. "The Real Effects of European Monetary Union," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 47-66, Fall.
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