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The U.S. Current Account and the Dollar


  • Olivier Blanchard
  • Francesco Giavazzi
  • Filipa Sa


There are two main forces behind the large U.S. current account deficits. First, an increase in the U.S. demand for foreign goods. Second, an increase in the foreign demand for U.S. assets. Both forces have contributed to steadily increasing current account deficits since the mid--1990s. This increase has been accompanied by a real dollar appreciation until late 2001, and a real depreciation since. The depreciation has accelerated recently, raising the questions of whether and how much more is to come, and if so, against which currencies, the euro, the yen, or the renminbi. Our purpose in this paper is to explore these issues. Our theoretical contribution is to develop a simple portfolio model of exchange rate and current account determination, and to use it to interpret the past and explore alternative scenarios for the future. Our practical conclusions are that substantially more depreciation is to come, surely against the yen and the renminbi, and probably against the euro.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11137
    Note: EFG IFM

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ricardo J. Caballero & Emmanuel Farhi & Mohamad L. Hammour, 2006. "Speculative Growth: Hints from the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1159-1192, September.
    2. 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.
    3. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Hélène Rey, 2007. "International Financial Adjustment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(4), pages 665-703, August.
    4. Lane, Philip R. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2004. "Financial globalization and exchange rates," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19926, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Menzie D. Chinn, 2005. "Doomed to Deficits? Aggregate U.S. Trade Flows Re-Examined," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 141(3), pages 460-485, October.
    6. Dornbusch, Rudiger, 1976. "Expectations and Exchange Rate Dynamics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1161-1176, December.
    7. Houthakker, Hendrik S & Magee, Stephen P, 1969. "Income and Price Elasticities in World Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(2), pages 111-125, May.
    8. Henderson, Dale W. & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1982. "Negative net foreign asset positions and stability in a world portfolio balance model," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1-2), pages 85-104, August.
    9. Ricardo J. Caballero & Mohamad L. Hammour, 2002. "Speculative Growth," NBER Working Papers 9381, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    JEL classification:

    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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