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.
The paper investigates cyclical fluctuations in the current and financial (formerly capital) accounts of the balance of payments and major underlying components for nine industrial countries. The empirical model uses as explanatory variables domestic output growth, price inflation, real exchange rate fluctuations, energy price inflation, global growth, and regional growth. The evidence from the estimation of the model indicates the importance of fluctuations in output growth to the cyclicality of the current and financial account balances. The necessary and sufficient condition to sustain a large current account deficit is high domestic growth, which tends to stimulate financial inflows and provides adequate resources for financing. Other factors appear to be less important to the cyclicality of the current and financial account balances and their negative correlations.