August 1999

Trade Prices and Volumes in East Asia through The Crisis

Marvin Barth and Trevor Dinmore


This paper presents a break-down of the export and import performance of select East Asian countries into price and volume effects. The results show that in aggregate, the decline in export revenue experienced by these countries in 1998 was largely due to a 9.1 percent fall in prices, and that export volume actually rose. Similarly, while the import volume of these countries did fall in 1998, the decline was not as great as in the dollar value of those imports, but reflected a greater slide in import prices of 10.8 percent. The fall in import and export prices in the East Asian region began in 1996, before the crisis, but intensified in the Summer and Fall of 1997 as the currency crisis unfolded and has continued through the Spring of 1999. Since the fall in import prices was apparently greater than the corresponding fall in export prices, these countries have collectively seen an improvement in their terms of trade during the crisis, reversing pre-crisis declines. The six countries that form the heart of this study were the source of 12.5 percent of US non-oil imports in 1998, and the accrued benefit to the United States of this price collapse may have been as much as a quarter of the value of these imports over two years.

Keywords: Asian Crisis, Trade Prices

PDF: Full Paper

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