Global imbalances - as measured by current account surpluses and deficits - are kept under close scrutiny because persistently high imbalances might have potentially harmful spill-overs if unwound in a disorderly fashion.

This is especially true for three of the biggest world economies (the US, China and the euro area) which are the main focus in this issue of the Quarterly Report on the Euro Area (QREA) , section III. Global imbalances: an old challenge on the rise?