Over five years have passed since the most intense phase of the global financial crisis. As has been widely documented the pre-crisis period was characterized by increased dispersion in current account deficits and surpluses facilitated by a benign global financial environment characterized by low risk aversion by borrowers and lenders as well as low volatility (see amongst others Lane 2013). While the crisis was not triggered by an unraveling of global imbalances it did lead to a drastic change in the global financial environment and a sharp compression of current account balances. But was this initial adjustment the result of cyclical factors including the initial sharp decline in domestic demand in deficit countries such as the United States the eurozone periphery and several countries in Central and Eastern Europe as well as initially declining commodity prices? Or has the external adjustment process been more protracted with a stronger structural component?
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