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Current Account Sustainability in Transition Economies

  • Nouriel Roubini
  • Paul Wachtel

This paper presents an analysis of the sustainability of current account deficits in transition economies in Central and Eastern Europe. These countries have experienced large current account imbalances in the transition to a market economy. We consider a wide range of macroeconomic factors that may indicate whether such imbalances are sustainable. We find that capital inflows and the choice of regimes of fixed exchange rates have led to a real exchange rate appreciation in many countries; this in turn has led to a significant loss of competitiveness and a worsening of the current account. In several countries there are a number of other indicators that point to a fragility of the external balance: weak banking and financial systems, large fiscal imbalances, low foreign reserves, increasing foreign debt and foreign debt-burden ratios. However, short-term portfolio investments (so-called hot money' inflows) are still relatively small in the transition economies examined, thus limiting the possibility of sudden speculative capital outflows.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6468.

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Date of creation: Mar 1998
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Skreb, M. and M. Blejer (eds.) Balance of Payments, Exchange Rates and Competitiveness in Transition Economies. 1999.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6468
Note: IFM
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
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  1. Gian Maria Milesi-Ferrett & Assaf Razin, 1996. "Current Account Sustainability: Selected East Asian and Latin American Experiences," NBER Working Papers 5791, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gian Maria Milesi-Ferrett & Assaf Razin, 1996. "Sustainability of Persistent Current Account Deficits," NBER Working Papers 5467, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Graciela L. Kaminsky & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1996. "The twin crises: the causes of banking and balance-of-payments problems," International Finance Discussion Papers 544, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. W.H. Buiter, 1997. "Aspects of Fiscal Performance in Some Transition Economies Under Fund-Supported Programs," CEP Discussion Papers dp0333, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Guillermo A. Calvo, 1995. "Varieties of Capital-Market Crises," Research Department Publications 4008, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  6. Vaclav Klaus, 1997. "Promoting financial stability in the transition economies of Central and Eastern Europe," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 183-192.
  7. Reinhart, Carmen & Kaminsky, Graciela & Lizondo, Saul, 1998. "Leading Indicators of Currency Crises," MPRA Paper 6981, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Kornélia Krajnyák & Jeromin Zettelmeyer, 1997. "Competitiveness in Transition Economies; What Scope for Real Appreciation?," IMF Working Papers 97/149, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Giancarlo Corsetti & Nouriel Roubini, 1995. "Politically Motivated Fiscal Deficits: Policy Issues in Closed and Open Economies," Working Papers 95-21, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  10. Milesi-Ferretti, G-M & Razin, A, 1996. "Current-Account Sustainability," Princeton Studies in International Economics 81, International Economics Section, Departement of Economics Princeton University,.
  11. Lionel Halpern & Charles Wyplosz, 1996. "Equilibrium Exchange Rates in Transition Economies," IMF Working Papers 96/125, International Monetary Fund.
  12. Carlos A. Végh Gramont & Ratna Sahay & Guillermo Calvo, 1995. "Capital Flows in Central and Eastern Europe; Evidence and Policy Options," IMF Working Papers 95/57, International Monetary Fund.
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