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posted on 14 July 2016

Eurozone Sectoral Balances

Written by , Econoblog101

There is a sectoral accounting identity which has great value in assessing sustainability of national economies. This framework for macroeconomic analysis of national economies was developed by British economist Wynne Godley. At the highest level, this shows how the flow of funds affects the financial balances of the private sector, government sector and foreign sector, accounting for all the economic activity of any nation. The graphic below shows 25 years of flows for the U.S. (click to enlarge).

The general equation for sectoral balance accounting is (from Wikipedia):

(G - T) = (S - I) - NX

which is

(State sector balance) = (Private sector balance) - External sector balance

where G is government spending, T is taxes, S is savings, I is investment and NX is net exports.

The analysis in my note here uses Current Accounts (which includes net exports but also international investment and money flows), restricts (S-I) to domestic flows only, and continues the same definition for the government sector. The accounting identity then contains three simple terms which must, by identity, total to zero.

G + P + F = 0

The stock (account) balances for government, private sector and foreign sources must total zero, ie. they must balance. There is no other magic fairy involved.

From the original post (see note at end of this post).

The current account is inverted, the public deficit a deficit and the private sector financial surplus a surplus. Some of the recent data is probably a forecast. I let the data speak for itself for now. Just one comment: the only country not able to run a consistent and significant surplus in the private sector is Greece. This is situation is hardly sustainable as debts are more easily repaid when a surplus exists. Continuation of the debt structure into the future is hence possible, but not likely.

Here the sectoral balances (in % of GDP; data from AMECO). Each graphic can be enlarged with successive clicks. Return to this page using the back arrow.

Germany

germany

Ireland

ireland

France

france

Italy

italy

Spain

spain

Greece

greece

Note: This was adapted by Econintersect from Sectoral balances of the eurozone (Econoblog101).

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