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Economic Definition of J curve. Defined.

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Term J curve Definition: An interesting relationship that exists between the exchange rate for a nation's currency and its balance of trade. In principle, the drop in a nation's exchange rate, or price of currency, makes the currency less expensive to "buy." With "cheaper" currency the price of domestic production is less and the price of foreign stuff is more, causing an increase in exports to other countries and drop in imports coming in from foreign producers. The economy thus moves in the direction away from a trade deficit and toward a trade surplus. However, the first few months after a drop in the exchange rate the balance of trade goes in the other direction, with any existing trade deficit increasing or any trade surplus shrinking. This occurs because the quantities imported and exported don't change in the short run, but the prices do. Because more is paid for the same amount of imported goods and receive less for the same amount of exports, total spending on imports increases, total revenue received from exports declines, and the movement is in the trade deficit direction. Once those quantities start adjusting in the long run, then we see a movement in the direction of a trade surplus.


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