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Assessing the euro area current account

Leonor Coutinho, Alessandro Turrini () and Stefan Zeugner

Journal of International Money and Finance, 2022, vol. 121, issue C

Abstract: This paper assesses the determinants of the evolution of the euro area current account against the benchmark provided by the empirical model in the Coutinho et al. (2018). The paper analyses what part of the current account can be explained by fundamental drivers (current account norms) for the euro area aggregate and for the largest five euro area economies. In addition, it attempts to make a step forward compared with traditional empirical current account specifications in two respects. First, in light of the growing stock imbalances across the euro area embodied by the net international investment position (NIIP), a different specification of current account norms is proposed for their computation, where the part of the NIIP that is explained by fundamental drivers is taken into account. Second, alternative specifications of the empirical model are estimated to better capture the impact of financial centres and corporate net savings, which have been playing an increasingly relevant role in shaping current account outturns in a number of euro area countries in recent decades. Results indicate that while the euro area current account has been in line with fundamentals until the great financial crisis, its post-crisis widening partly reflects private and public deleveraging. Accounting for NIIPs and corporate net savings contributes to moderately reduce the gap between the euro area current account and the norm.

Keywords: Current account balance; External equilibrium; Euro area; NIIP; Corporate net savings (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F32 F41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jimonfin.2021.102512

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