Mr. Hicks, Chief of the Statistics Division and Editor of International Financial Statistics, was formerly with the Division of Monetary Research of the U.S. Treasury and previous to that with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
Mr. Boccia, economist specializing in price and production statistics in the Statistics Division, was formerly with the Italian Central Institute of Statistics.
This paper was presented at the Conference on External Trade and Balance of Payments Statistics, Panama City, December 3-15, 1951.
The data are necessarily limited to those countries for which satisfactory trade and money supply data are available in national currency. The ratios are based on data from International Monetary Fund, International Financial Statistics.
While the effects of import transactions are opposite to those of exports, they are of equal magnitude only in this aggregative sense. See below.
The figures are based on unweighted averages of indices of national currency export data for all those countries in each group that had no change, or no important change, in their exchange rates during the three years, 1937-39. For Latin America the 10 countries covered are Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Uruguay, and Venezuela; for Europe, the 11 countries are Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
For Brazil, the important exports are coffee, cotton, cacao, leather, soft wood, carnauba wax, and castor beans; for Ecuador, rice, cacao, coffee, straw hats, ivory nuts, and woods; for Italy, textiles, chemicals, machinery other than electric, electric machines, and vehicles; for Switzerland, clocks, instruments, silk fabrics, cotton fabrics, chemicals, and machinery.
Certain commodities, like bananas and petroleum, cannot be meaningfully quantified in terms of price from the entries in trade statistics. But this is a different problem since the difficulty here is that the prices entered in trade statistics for these commodities are faulty rather than that the nature of the commodity makes it difficult to know what average price has been entered.