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An anatomy of the Spanish current account adjustment: the role of permanent and transitory factors

Moral-Benito, Enrique and Viani, Francesca (2017): An anatomy of the Spanish current account adjustment: the role of permanent and transitory factors.

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Abstract

This paper aims to identify how much of the recent current account adjustment in Spain can be explained by cyclical factors. For this purpose, we consider a variant of the External Balance Assessment (EBA) methodology with country-specific slopes and intercepts. The resulting residuals are negligible for most countries so that the positive analysis of current account decompositions provides a more informative assessment. According to our findings, around 60% of the 12 pp. adjustment of the Spanish external imbalance over the 2008-2015 period can be explained by transitory factors such as the output gap, the oil balance, and the financial cycle. The remaining 40% is explained by factors such as the cyclically-adjusted fiscal consolidation, population aging, lower growth expectations, or competitiveness gains, which can all be considered as more permanent phenomena.

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