Press Releases

Economic Brief

Oct. 5, 2017

Richmond Fed Research Says Trade Imbalance Fears Are Overstated

Trade imbalances are a perennial concern, but the latest Economic Brief from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond contends that fears of trade imbalances are often unwarranted.

The United States has run persistent trade deficits since the late 1970s, while Germany has maintained persistent trade surpluses since the 1990s. The researchers argue that neither position is inherently good or bad. The surpluses mostly reflect Germans’ relative pessimism (more saving than investment) and Americans’ relative optimism (more investment than saving).

The Richmond Fed’s Economic Brief series provides web-exclusive essays on current economic issues and trends. Sign up to receive an email notification when a new essay is posted.


The Richmond Fed serves the Fifth Federal Reserve District, which includes the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and most of West Virginia. As part of the nation's central bank, we're one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that work together with the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors to strengthen the economy and our communities. We manage the nation's money supply to keep inflation low and help the economy grow. We also supervise and regulate financial institutions to help safeguard our nation's financial system and protect the integrity and efficiency of our payments system.

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