THE DISTRIBUTION of any country’s export and import trade, by destination and by origin, differs substantially from the corresponding distributions for many other countries. Such differences, as well as the differences in size of over-all trade, have an important bearing on the way in which trade flows respond to price changes. For example, if country A expands its exports as a result of a reduction in its price level, the change in value of exports from some other country, B, will naturally depend on the size of B’s total exports, but also on the extent to which B trades with country A and on the extent to which A supplies foreign markets that are important outlets for B’s products. Or, for another example, suppose that A’s trade balance deteriorates as a result of a loss in price competitiveness. The extent to which country B will share in the offsetting improvement in the collective trade balance of other countries will depend on such factors as the importance of A’s products in B’s imports, on the importance of imports in B’s total expenditure, and on the extent to which B’s exports depend on markets that are heavily supplied by A. These structural variables are ratios of recorded trade flows.
Kei-Mu Yi, Mr. Rudolfs Bems, and Robert C. Johnson
This paper uses a global input-output framework to quantify US and EU demand spillovers and the elasticity of world trade to GDP during the global recession of 2008-2009. We find that 20-30 percent of the decline in the US and EU demand was borne by foreign countries, with NAFTA, Emerging Europe, and Asia hit hardest. Allowing demand to change in all countries simultaneously, our framework delivers an elasticity of world trade to GDP of nearly 3. Thus, demand alone can account for 70 percent of the trade collapse. Large changes in demand for durables play an important role in driving these results.
This paper develops a new empirical framework for analyzing the dynamics of the trade balance in response to different types of macroeconomic shocks. The model provides a synthetic perspective on the conditional correlations between the business cycle and the trade balance that are generated by different shocks and attempts to reconcile these results with unconditional correlations found in the data. The results suggest that, in the post-Bretton Woods period, nominal shocks have been an important determinant of the forecast error variance for fluctuations in the trade balances of the Group of Seven countries.
This paper studies the effects of demand and supply shocks in the global crude oil market on several measures of countries' external balance, including the oil and non-oil trade balances, the current account, and changes in net foreign assets (NFA) during 1975-2004. We explicitly take a global perspective. In addition to the U.S., the Euro area and Japan, we consider a number of country groups including oil exporters and middle-income oil-importing economies. We find that the effect of oil shocks on the merchandise trade balance and the current account, which depending on the source of the shock can be large, depends critically on the response of the nonoil trade balance, and differs systematically between the U.S. and other oil importing countries. Using the Lane-Milesi-Ferretti NFA data set, we document the presence of large and systematic (if not always statistically significant) valuation effects in response to oil shocks, not only for the U.S., but also for other oil-importing economies and for oil exporters. Our estimates suggest that increased international financial integration will tend to cushion the effect of oil shocks on NFA positions for major oil exporters and the U.S., but may amplify it for other oil importers.
This paper considers the extent to which the North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) meets the criteria for a common currency area. NAFTA is compared with the EC, a regional grouping for which initial plans for a monetary union are already in place. Most of the anticipated benefits from a monetary union in the EC apply with equal force to NAFTA. However, because the underlying disturbances are more diverse across members of NAFTA, the costs of abandoning the exchange rate instrument are likely to be higher. This is particularly true when NAFTA is compared to the EC’s continental core.
We propose a new approach to test the full-information rational expectations hypothesis which can identify whether rejections of the arise from information rigidities. This approach quantifies the economic significance of departures from the and the underlying degree of information rigidity. Applying this approach to U.S. and international data of professional forecasters and other agents yields pervasive evidence consistent with the presence of information rigidities. These results therefore provide a set of stylized facts which can be used to calibrate imperfect information models. Finally, we document evidence of state-dependence in the expectations formation process.
This paper evaluates how successful is a policy of exchange rate stabilization to counteract the negative effects of a Dutch Disease episode. We consider a small open economy model that incorporates nominal rigidities and a learning-by-doing externality in the tradable sector. The paper shows that leaning against an appreciated exchange rate can prevent an inefficient loss of tradable output but at the cost of generating a misallocation of resources in other sectors of the economy. The paper also finds that welfare is a decreasing function of exchange rate intervention. These results suggest that stabilizing the nominal exchange rate in response to a Dutch Disease episode is highly distortionary.
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.