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External Imbalances in an Advanced, Commodity-Exporting Country: The Case of New Zealand

  • Sebastian Edwards

During the last three years New Zealand has faced increasingly large external imbalances. The current account deficit has increased from 4.3% of GDP in 2003 to almost 9.0% of GDP in 2005. During the same period the country's net international investment position (NIIP) went from a negative level equivalent to 78.5% of GDP to negative 89% of GDP. In this paper I analyze the potential consequences of New Zealand's external imbalances. More specifically, I investigate what is the probability that New Zealand will undergo a costly adjustment characterized by an abrupt and large current account reversal. I find that to an important extent the (very) negative NIIP and (very) large current account deficit may be explained by New Zealand's very close economic relationship with Australia. The econometric results suggest that the rapid growth in the deficit during the last few years has (greatly) increased New Zealand's vulnerability to "contagion." It has also increased the advantage of the country's current floating exchange rate regime.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12620.

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Date of creation: Oct 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12620
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  1. Sebastian Edwards, 2005. "Capital Controls, Sudden Stops and Current Account Reversals," NBER Working Papers 11170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Frederic S. Mishkin & Adam S. Posen, 1998. "Inflation Targeting: Lessons from Four Countries," NBER Working Papers 6126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  4. Kim, Kunhong & Hall, Viv B. & Buckle, Robert A., 2006. "Consumption-smoothing in a small, cyclically volatile open economy: Evidence from New Zealand," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(8), pages 1277-1295, December.
  5. Gian Maria Milesi-Ferrett & Assaf Razin, 1998. "Current Account Reversals and Currency Crises: Empirical Regularities," NBER Working Papers 6620, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Taylor, Alan M., 2002. "A century of current account dynamics," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 725-748, November.
  7. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Andrew K. Rose, 1996. "Currency crashes in emerging markets: an empirical treatment," International Finance Discussion Papers 534, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Bennett T. McCallum, 2006. "A Monetary Policy Rule for Automatic Prevention of a Liquidity Trap," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy with Very Low Inflation in the Pacific Rim, NBER-EASE, Volume 15, pages 9-42 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. David Drage & Anella Munro & Cath Sleeman, 2005. "An update on Eurokiwi and Uridashi bonds," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 68, September.
  10. Nils Bj�Rksten & �Zer Karagedikli & Christopher Plantier & Arthur Grimes, 2004. "What Does the Taylor Rule Say About a New Zealand-Australia Currency Union?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 80(s1), pages S34-S42, 09.
  11. Dominguez, Kathryn M & Frankel, Jeffrey A, 1993. "Does Foreign-Exchange Intervention Matter? The Portfolio Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1356-69, December.
  12. Aaron Drew & Viv Hall & John McDermott & Robert St. Clair, 2001. "Would adopting the Australian dollar provide superior monetary policy in New Zealand?," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series DP2001/03, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
  13. Masao Ogaki & Jonathan David Ostry & Carmen Reinhart, 1995. "Saving Behavior in Low and Middle-Income Developing Countries; A Comparison," IMF Working Papers 95/3, International Monetary Fund.
  14. Guillermo A. Calvo & Alejandro Izquierdo & Luis Fernando Mejía, 2004. "On the Empirics of Sudden Stops: The Relevance of Balance-Sheet Effects," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6516, Inter-American Development Bank.
  15. Eduardo A. Cavallo & Jeffrey Frankel, 2007. "Does Openness to Trade Make Countries More Vulnerable to Sudden Stops, or Less? Using Gravity to Establish Causality," Research Department Publications 4544, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  16. Jonathan Kearns & Roberto Rigobon, 2002. "Identifying the Efficacy of Central Bank Interventions: The Australian Case," NBER Working Papers 9062, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Sebastian Edwards, 2006. "The Relationship Between Exchange Rates and Inflation Targeting Revisited," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 409, Central Bank of Chile.
  18. Arthur Grimes, 2005. "Intra & Inter-Regional Industry Shocks: A New Metric with an Application to Australasian Currency Union," Macroeconomics 0509019, EconWPA.
  19. Sarno, Lucio & Taylor, Mark P, 2001. "Official Intervention in the Foreign Exchange Market: Is It Effective, and, If So, How Does It Work?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2690, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Sebastian Edwards, 2005. "The End of Large Current Account Deficits, 1970-2002: Are There Lessons for the United States?," NBER Working Papers 11669, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Matías Tapia & Andrea Tokman, 2004. "Effects of Foreign Exchange Intervention Under Public Information: the Chilean Case," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 255, Central Bank of Chile.
  22. Mark Robinson & Grant M. Scobie & Brian Hallinan, 2006. "Affordability of Housing: Concepts, Measurement and Evidence," Treasury Working Paper Series 06/03, New Zealand Treasury.
  23. Iris Claus & Grant Scobie, 2002. "Saving in New Zealand: Measurement and Trends," Treasury Working Paper Series 02/02, New Zealand Treasury.
  24. John B. Taylor, 2001. "The Role of the Exchange Rate in Monetary-Policy Rules," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 263-267, May.
  25. Frederic S. Mishkin & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2001. "One decade of inflation targeting in the world : What do we know and what do we need to know?," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 101, Central Bank of Chile.
  26. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, June.
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