Are Terms of Trade Rises Inflationary?
This paper explores the relationship between the terms of trade and inflation. It shows, both analytically and empirically, that the exchange rate response to a change in the terms of trade is crucial to the inflation outcome. It suggests the existence of a ‘threshold’ exchange rate response. Our best estimate is that (other things being equal) a rise in the terms of trade is inflationary if the associated rise in the real exchange rate is less than about 1/3-1/2 of the rise in the terms of trade. However, if appreciation of the real exchange rate is larger than this, the consequent fall in the domestic price of importables is large enough that the terms of trade rise reduces inflation, at least in the short run.
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