The End of Large Current Account Deficits, 1970-2002: Are There Lessons for the United States?
69 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2005 Last revised: 9 Dec 2005
Date Written: October 2005
The future of the U.S. current account -- and thus of the U.S. dollar -- depend on whether foreign investors will continue to add U.S. assets to their investment portfolios. However, even under optimistic scenarios, the U.S. current account deficit is likely to go through a significant reversal at some point in time. This adjustment may be as large of 4% to 5% of GDP. In order to have an idea of the possible consequences of this type of adjustment, I have analyzed the international evidence on current account reversals using both non-parametric techniques as well as panel regressions. The results from this empirical investigation indicate that major current account reversals have tended to result in large declines in GDP growth. I also analyze the large U.S. current account adjustment of 1987-1991.
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