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Global imbalances: Is Germany the new China? A skeptical view


  • Sengupta, Rajeswari
  • Aizenman, Joshua


In this paper we evaluate the current account patterns of China and Germany. We point out that China's current account surplus as a share of global GDP in recent years resembles that of Germany’s. Yet, an important difference is that the Euro block’s current account inclusive of Germany, has overall been balanced, whereas emerging Asia's current account inclusive of China, has mostly been characterized by sizable surpluses. We further find that both China and Germany's current account surpluses seem to be accounted for by common factors. However we have reasons to doubt the long run viability of these current account trends in future decades. Demographic transitions in China and Germany are projected to reduce their surpluses, and this effect is stronger for Germany. We also discuss plausible reasons to doubt the extent to which the Euro block will move towards significant surplus in the coming years.

Suggested Citation

  • Sengupta, Rajeswari & Aizenman, Joshua, 2010. "Global imbalances: Is Germany the new China? A skeptical view," MPRA Paper 25578, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:25578

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Aizenman, Joshua & Jinjarak, Yothin, 2009. "Current account patterns and national real estate markets," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 75-89, September.
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    13. Giavazzi, Francesco & Spaventa, Luigi, 2010. "Why the current account may matter in a monetary union: Lessons from the financial crisis in the Euro area," CEPR Discussion Papers 8008, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    Cited by:

    1. Guangfeng Zhang & Ronald MacDonald, 2014. "Real Exchange Rates, the Trade Balance and Net Foreign Assets: Long-Run Relationships and Measures of Misalignment," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 635-653, September.
    2. Carlos A. Carrasco & Felipe Serrano, 2014. "Global and European Imbalances:A critical review," Working papers wpaper42, Financialisation, Economy, Society & Sustainable Development (FESSUD) Project.
    3. Marchetti, Juan & Ruta, Michele & Teh, Robert, 2012. "Trade imbalances and multilateral trade cooperation," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2012-23, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    4. Hoffmann, Mathias, 2013. "What drives China's current account?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 856-883.
    5. Robert N. McCauley & Guonan Ma, 2013. "Global and Euro Imbalances: China and Germany," SUERF 50th Anniversary Volume Chapters, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum.
    6. Carlos A. Carrasco & Patricia Peinado, 2015. "On the Origin of European Imbalances in the Context of European Integration," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 62(2), pages 177-191, June.

    More about this item


    current accounts; demographic transitions; global imbalances;

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements

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