The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. With nearly 300 released each year, working papers cover a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Current account deficits imply increasing liabilities to the rest of the world. External sustainability then depends on whether these can be met in the future without defaulting, i.e., normally through trade account surpluses. To run such surpluses without a fall in consumption, capital inflows should be used to increase future output. This paper tentatively finds that current account deficits reversals that follow investment booms are marked by better growth performance than those following consumption booms. It also shows that many recent large current account deficits have been predominantly the result of consumption or non-productive investment booms.