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Sudden Stops and Current Account Reversals: Potential Macroeconomic Consequences for South Africa

Ben Smit, Christelle Grobler and Carmen Nel

South African Journal of Economics, 2014, vol. 82, issue 4, 616-627

Abstract: South Africa is one of the emerging market countries that have received a relatively large amount of foreign capital since the mid-2000s. In South Africa's case, these inflows were partly used to build the country's foreign exchange reserves, but more particularly to finance continued large current account deficits. During the course of the past two years, however, adverse domestic political developments, combined with the potential negative impacts of the unwinding of quantitative easing policies and the normalising of monetary policy in the United States on emerging markets in general, has raised the spectre of a sharp slowdown in foreign capital flows to South Africa and an associated reversal of the current deficit. This paper explores the potential impact of such a development on macroeconomic conditions in South Africa. The analysis consists of macroeconometric model-based alternative scenarios backed up by both the international evidence on the impact of such events and South Africa's own history.

Date: 2014
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