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EconPol Policy Report: The German current account surplus: where does it come from, is it harmful and should Germany do something about it?

EconPol Policy Report
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In the international economic policy debate Germany is criticized heavily for its current account surplus. This paper describes the factors that have led to the surplus and discusses the policy implications. The current account surplus is mainly a result of higher savings, driven by an ageing population. The claim that the German surplus causes economic damage either in Germany or in other countries is not well founded. But Germany faces growing political pressures related to the threat of protectionism, the risk that a growing creditor position may lead to political backlash, and the fact that European Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedures imply that current account surpluses should not exceed six percent of GDP. To reduce the surplus Germany should focus on a corporate tax reform to boost private investment.