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Economic Commentary

A Hitchhiker's Guide to the U.S. Current Account Problem

The United States has run a current account deficit for the past 20 years, and, as a consequence, foreigners now hold unprecedented financial claims on the United States. At some point, foreigners will become reluctant to hold these claims and will set into motion a series of corrective economic adjustments. This Economic Commentary describes the interaction between our current account deficits and the broader economy and explains the problem that continued deficits pose.

The views authors express in Economic Commentary are theirs and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The series editor is Tasia Hane. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. This paper and its data are subject to revision; please visit for updates.

Suggested Citation

Humpage, Owen F. 2004. “A Hitchhiker's Guide to the U.S. Current Account Problem.” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Commentary 10/1/2004.