Assessing the Sustainability of External Imbalances in the European Union
ISEG Economics Department Working Paper No. WP 10/2017/DE/UECE
47 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2017
Date Written: June 14, 2017
We assess the sustainability of the current account (CA) balance, net international investment position (NIIP) and net external debt (NED) in a sample of EU countries using two complementary approaches. First, we employ both time-series and panel-data stationarity tests of current account balance-to-GDP ratios as well as cointegration tests of exports and imports of goods and services. Second, we assess the level of trade balance that stabilizes the NIIP and the NED. We find that there is sustainability of the CA balance mainly in a few surplus countries whereas there is more concern about the sustainability of the NIIP or NED in countries with a credit position than in countries with a debit position. Both approaches are consistent with each other given the relationship between flows and stocks, the existence of important structural breaks, and valuation effects via the exchange rate.
Keywords: current account, exports, imports, net foreign assets, unit roots, structural breaks, cointegration, error-correction, cross-sectional dependence
JEL Classification: C22, C23, F32, F34, F36, F41
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