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KE-YOUNG CHU and THOMAS K. MORRISON

The depressed condition of non-oil primary commodity markets during 1981–82 was the worst since World War II. The overall index of annual average prices of primary commodities (other than gold and petroleum) declined by 12 percent in 1982 (in dollar terms), following a 15 percent decline in 1981. The cumulative two-year decline of 25 percent was the largest and longest in more than three decades. During the last three decades, the largest annual decline occurred during the 1975 recession, when primary commodity prices fell by 19 percent; thereafter, they quickly recovered, increasing by 15 percent in 1976 and by 21 percent more in 1977. Commodity prices in real terms, estimated by deflating nominal prices by the United Nations price index of manufactured exports of developed countries, fell by 20 percent in 1981–82 to a postwar low. Commodity prices increased by 6 percent in 1983, but the aggregate index in 1983 was 20 percent below the previous peak attained in 1980 and 6 percent below the average index for 1977–83.

GEORGE E. LENT

Financial statements based on historical costs increasingly depart from current values during an inflationary period and have distorting effects on the measurement of business profits. For this reason, periods of rapid inflation, especially following a major war or economic crisis, have been met in some countries by measures for the revaluation of business accounts for purposes of reports to shareholders and the determination of taxable income.

J. SAÚL LIZONDO

Two dual exchange rale regimes are compared. Under one, the official market clears through changes in international reserves. Under the other, the central bank implements a rationing scheme so as to keep international reserves constant. The paper discusses the effects on inflation, the balance of payments, the real exchange rate, and the spread between the free and the official exchange rate of various economic policies, including exchange rate policy, fiscal policy, and unification of the exchange markets. It concludes that the steady-state effects for most of those policies are qualitatively the same under both regimes.[JEL F31, F41]