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The US as a Net Debtor

Gepost in Overige economische berichten

The Sustainability of the US External Imbalances

Nouriel Roubini

Stern School of Business, NYU and

Brad Setser

Research Associate, Global Economic Governance Programme, University College, Oxford

 

Introduction

This paper analyzes the sustainability of U.S. external deficits7 and the "Bretton Woods Two" international monetary system that is integral to their financing. It therefore examines the sustainability of what Larry Summers has called the "balance of financial terror"8 – a system whose stability hinges on the willingness of Asian central banks to both hold enormous amounts of US Treasuries (and other US fixed income securities and to add to their already enormous stocks to provide the ongoing financial flows needed to sustain the U.S. current account deficit and the Bretton Woods Two system.

Our analysis suggests that the Bretton Woods Two system is fragile, and likely will prove unstable. Even if the United States continues to be able to borrow on terms that other, comparable, debtors could not imagine, our analysis suggests that the U.S. is on anunsustainable and dangerous path.

The basic tools of our analysis may not be familiar to those who follow the American economy. However, they should be familiar to students of emerging economies, who traditionally have had to worry about external sustainability. At the same time, some of the details of the analysis will seem strange to students of emerging economies, since the U.S. is in no way a typical external debtor. Most emerging economies do not have negative real interest rates on their debt, or see their net international investment position as their currency depreciates.

debt flows needed

bretton woods two

trade deficit

baseline

asian financing us debt

Bovenstaande grafieken geven een goed inzicht in de te verwachten ontwikkeling.

Voor die mensen die geïnteresseerd zijn in het hele rapport klik op de volgende link:

http://www.stern.nyu.edu/globalmacro/Roubini-Setser-US-External-Imbalances.pdf