1. Terms of trade 

2. History

3. Key Takeaways

4. Terms of Trade (TOT) operating method

5. Factors affecting terms of trade

6. Fluctuating terms of trade

7. Improving terms of trade

8. Worsening terms of trade

Terms of trade 

The terms of trade (TOT) is that the relative worth of exports in terms of imports and is outlined because the quantitative relation of export costs to import costs. It is often taken because the quantity cardinal product an economy should buy per unit of export product. AN improvement of a nation’s terms of trade edges that country within the sense that it should buy additional imports for any given level of exports. The terms of trade could also be influenced by the rate of exchange as a result of an increase within the price of a country’s currency lowers the domestic costs of its imports however might not directly have an effect on the costs of the commodities it exports.


The expression terms of trade were initial coined by the US country American social scientist Frank William Taussig in his 1927 book International Trade. However, an earlier version of the conception are often derived back to nation social scientist parliamentarian Torrens and his book The Budget: On industrial and Colonial Policy, printed in 1844, in addition on John Stuart Mill’s essay Of the Laws of Interchange between Nations; and therefore the Distribution of Gains of Commerce among the Countries of the industrial World, printed within the same year, tho’ allegedly already written in 1829/30.

Key Takeaways

  • Terms of trade (TOT) could be a key economic metric of a company’s health measured through what it imports and exports.
  • TOT is expressed as a quantitative relation that reflects the quantity of units of exports that area unit required to shop for one unit of imports.
  • TOT is set by dividing the value of the exports by the value of the imports and multiplying the quantity by a hundred.
  • A TOT over 100% or that shows improvement over time are often a positive economic indicator because it will mean that export costs have up as import costs have control steady or declined.

Terms of Trade (TOT) operating method

The TOT is employed as AN indicator of a country’s economic health, however it will lead analysts to draw the incorrect conclusions. Changes in import costs and export costs impact the TOT, and it is important to grasp what caused the value to extend or to decrease. TOT measurements area unit typically recorded in AN index for economic observance functions.

An improvement or increase in a very country’s TOT typically indicates that export costs have gone up as import costs have either maintained or born. Conversely, export costs may need born however not as considerably as import costs. Export costs may stay steady whereas import costs have decreased or they could have merely redoubled at a quicker pace than import costs. of these situations may end up in an improved TOT.

Factors Affecting Terms of Trade

A TOT depends to some extent on exchange and inflation rates and costs. a spread of alternative factors influences the TOT in addition, and a few area units distinctive to specific sectors and industries.

Scarcity—the variety of products offered for trade—is one such issue. The additional product a merchandiser has offered purchasable, the additional product it’ll seemingly sell, and therefore the additional product that merchandiser should buy mistreatment capital obtained from sales.

The size and quality of products conjointly have an effect on TOT. Larger and higher-quality product can seemingly value additional. If product sell for a better worth, a marketer can have extra capital to get additional product.

Fluctuating Terms of Trade

A country should buy additional foreign product for each unit of export that it sells once its TOT improves. a rise within the TOT will so be useful as a result of the country wants fewer exports to shop for a given variety of imports.

It might even have a positive impact on domestic cost-push inflation once the TOT will increase as a result of the rise is indicative of falling import costs to export costs. The country’s export volumes may fall to the hurt of the balance of payments (BOP), however.

The country should export a bigger variety of units to get a similar variety of imports once its TOT deteriorates. The Prebisch-Singer hypothesis states that some rising markets and developing countries have old declining TOTs as a result of a generalized decline within the worth of commodities relative to the value of factory-made product.

Improving terms of trade

If a country’s terms of trade improve, it implies that for each unit of exports sold  it should buy additional units of foreign product. thus probably, an increase within the terms of trade creates a profit in terms of what number product ought to be exported to shop for a given quantity of imports. It may have a useful impact on domestic cost-push inflation as AN improvement indicates falling import costs relative to export costs. However, countries might suffer in terms of falling export volumes and a worsening balance of payments.

Worsening terms of trade

A worsening term of trade indicates that a rustic has got to export additional to get a given amount of imports. consistent with the Prebisch-Singer hypothesis, this fate has befallen several developing countries given the final decline in commodity costs in relevance the value of factory-made goods. However, economic process has attended cut back the value of factory-made product over the past fifteen years, therefore the advantage that industrial countries had over developing countries could also be falling. The impact of economic process has attended halt the decline within the terms of trade of developing economies.

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