The expression “capacity to import”, as used in ECLA publications, means the total foreign exchange receipts from exports, from the inflow of capital and from service transactions. It is intended to show the foreign exchange that a country, or a region, has available to spend in a year, without having to rely on “compensatory movements” of capital, such as drawing on gold reserves, borrowing from the International Monetary Fund, or running up trade debts through failure to meet them when they are due. A series of estimates of the capacity to import can, like many series in economics, be measured in current prices (e.g. in terms of current dollars). Alternatively, it can be measured in constant prices, in which case it allows for movements in the prices of imports, and shows how much more or less can be bought in volume of goods as compared with earlier years.

Related Subject(s): Economic and Social Development
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