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Characterizing Movements of the U.S. Current Account Deficit

  • Torsten Schmidt

    ()

  • Torge Middendorf

    ()

It is unclear whether the exceptionally highU.S. current account deficit can be sustained for a prolonged period. In this paper we approach the topic whether a gradual adjustment or a pronounced reduction of the deficit is likely to occur. We therefore characterize the dynamics of the current account deficit movements by a three-regime Markov-Switching model. Our finding is that it is possible to distinguish a regime of a strong increasing deficit, a just slightly increasing deficit and a regime of a deficit reduction. Furthermore we find that movements of the deficit are asymmetric.Whereas expansions of the current account deficit are long lasting, reductions of the deficit are rather short. This implies that a pronounced reduction is not likely to occur. Secondly we try to uncover determinants of regime shifts of the current account. Applying ordered Logit models we conclude that a combination of U.S. inflation, U.S. investment and share prices predicts pronounced changes in the current account deficit quite reliably.

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Paper provided by Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung in its series RWI Discussion Papers with number 0024.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rwi:dpaper:0024
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  1. Reuven Glick & Kenneth Rogoff, 1992. "Global Versus Country-Specific Productivity Shocks and the Current Account," NBER Working Papers 4140, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sebastian Edwards, 2004. "Thirty Years of Current Account Imbalances, Current Account Reversals and Sudden Stops," NBER Working Papers 10276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Frankel, Jeffrey A. & Rose, Andrew K., 1996. "Currency crashes in emerging markets: An empirical treatment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-4), pages 351-366, November.
  4. Frankel, Jeffrey A. & Rose, Andrew K., 1996. "Currency Crashes in Emerging Markets: Empirical Indicators," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers 233424, University of California-Berkeley, Department of Economics.
  5. Richard N. Cooper, 2001. "Is the U.S. Current Account Deficit Sustainable? Will It Be Sustained?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 217-226.
  6. Chinn, Menzie D. & Prasad, Eswar S., 2003. "Medium-term determinants of current accounts in industrial and developing countries: an empirical exploration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 47-76, January.
  7. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2000. "Perspectives on OECD economic integration : implications for U.S. current account adjustment," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 169-208.
  8. Sebastian Edwards, 2002. "Does the Current Account Matter?," NBER Chapters, in: Preventing Currency Crises in Emerging Markets, pages 21-76 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. James D. Hamilton & Baldev Raj, 2002. "New directions in business cycle research and financial analysis," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 149-162.
  10. Benoît Mercereau, 2003. "The Role of Stock Markets in Current Account Dynamics; Evidence from the United States," IMF Working Papers 03/108, International Monetary Fund.
  11. Sebastian Edwards, 2004. "Thirty Years of Current Account Imbalances, Current Account Reversals, and Sudden Stops," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(s1), pages 1-49, June.
  12. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
  13. Genberg, Hans & Swoboda, Alexander K, 1992. " Saving, Investment and the Current Account," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94(2), pages 347-66.
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