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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 New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 97-03.

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Date of creation: 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ste:nystbu:97-03
Contact details of provider: Postal: New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics, 44 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10012-1126
Phone: (212) 998-0860
Fax: (212) 995-4218
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  1. Assaf Razin & Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 1996. "Current Account Sustainability: Selected East Asian and Latin American Experiences," IMF Working Papers 96/110, International Monetary Fund.
  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. Reinhart, Carmen & Kaminsky, Graciela, 1999. "The twin crises: The causes of banking and balance of payments problems," MPRA Paper 14081, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Kaminsky, Graciela & Lizondo, Saul & Reinhart, Carmen M., 1997. "Leading indicators of currency crises," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1852, The World Bank.
  5. 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.
  6. Kornélia Krajnyák & Jeromin Zettelmeyer, 1997. "Competitiveness in Transition Economies: What Scope for Real Appreciation?," IMF Working Papers 97/149, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Giancarlo Corsetti & Nouriel Roubini, 1997. "Politically Motivated Fiscal Deficits: Policy Issues in Closed and Open Economies," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(1), pages 27-54, 03.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Guillermo A. Calvo, 1995. "Varieties of Capital-Market Crises," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 5721, Inter-American Development Bank.
  11. Lionel Halpern & Charles Wyplosz, 1996. "Equilibrium Exchange Rates in Transition Economies," IMF Working Papers 96/125, International Monetary Fund.
  12. Milesi-Ferretti, G-M & Razin, A, 1996. "Current-Account Sustainability," Princeton Studies in International Economics 81, International Economics Section, Departement of Economics Princeton University,.
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