The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
A number of developing countries have run large and persistent current account deficits in both the late seventies/early eighties and in the early nineties, raising the issue of whether these persistent imbalances are sustainable. This paper puts forward a notion of current account sustainability and compares the experience of three Latin American countries-Chile, Colombia Mexico-and three East Asian countries-Korea, Malaysia and Thailand. It identifies a number of potential sustainability indicators and discusses their usefulness in predicting external crises.