Global Imbalances: Evolution of Approaches

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-9-19-28
Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University), 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation

Received 18.05.2022. Revised 07.06.2022. Accepted 27.06.2022.

Abstract. The article examines the current state and causes of global imbalances’ sustainability – the phenomenon whereby some major systemic countries run large and persistent current account deficits, which are mirrored by large surpluses in a number of other countries. The widening of global imbalances during COVID 19 pandemic contrasts with their dynamics during previous global downturns, when the scale of imbalances narrowed. The article analyzes various explanations of global imbalances: intertemporal choice with a difference in the rates of return, demographic changes, global savings glut, dynamics of oil prices, exchange rate manipulations, twin deficits, demand for safe assets. The significance of each of the causes of global imbalances changes over time, and currently fiscal policy has been playing an increasing role to determine the movements of current account deficits. The global fiscal response to the pandemic, especially in advanced economies, has been unprecedented, which led to significant reduction in government savings. The scale and dynamics of global imbalances are largely determined by the state of the US balance of payments: it is a reflection of the ability to generate safe assets and to finance trade and budget deficits cheaply by using the dollar’s status as the dominant world currency. There are differences in theoretical approaches regarding the macroeconomic effects of global imbalances. But persistent current account deficits and surpluses lead to accumulation of stock imbalances – the difference between countries’ foreign assets and liabilities. The ongoing negative changes in the net international investment positions of many leading advanced economies indicate an increase in external indebtedness. This creates risks to both debtor and creditor countries and threatens the stability of the global financial system. 

Keywords: global imbalances, balance of payments, current account, external debt


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For citation:
Kholopov A. Global Imbalances: Evolution of Approaches. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2022, vol. 66, no. 9, pp. 19-28.

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