, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 468-508,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 30 May 2012

Target loans, current account balances and capital flows: the ECB’s rescue facility

Abstract

This paper presents the first comprehensive Target database of the Eurozone and interprets it from an economic perspective. We show that the Target accounts measure the intra-Eurozone balances of payments and indirectly also international credit given through the Eurosystem in terms of reallocating the ECB’s net refinancing credit. We argue that the Euro crisis is a balance-of-payments crisis similar to the Bretton Woods crisis, and document to what extent the Target credit financed the current account deficits and outright capital flight in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy. To prevent the ECB from undermining the allocative role of the capital market, we propose adopting the US system of credit redemption between the District Feds.