trade, terms of

trade, terms of

Relationship between the prices at which a country sells its exports and the prices paid for its imports. If a country's export prices rise relative to import prices, its terms of trade are said to have moved in a favourable direction, since, in effect, it now receives more imports for each unit of goods exported. The terms of trade, which depend on the world supply of and demand for the goods involved, indicate how the gains from international trade will be distributed among trading countries. An abrupt change in a country's terms of trade (e.g., a drastic fall in the price of its main export) can cause serious problems in its balance of payments. See also comparative advantage.

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