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What Is a J-Curve ?

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

/ by Admin


A J-curve is a trendline that shows an initial loss immediately followed by a dramatic gain. In a chart, this pattern of activity would follow the shape of a capital "J". The J-curve effect is often cited in economics to describe, for instance, the way that a country’s balance of trade initially worsens following a devaluation of its currency, then quickly recovers and finally surpasses its previous performance. J-curves are observed in other fields including medicine and political science. In each case, it depicts an initial loss followed by a significant gain to a level that exceeds the starting point. 

Understanding the J-Curve

The J-curve is useful to demonstrate the effects of an event or action over a set period of time. Put bluntly, it shows that things are going to get worse before they get better. 


  • A J-curve depicts a trend that starts with a sharp drop and is followed by a dramatic rise. 
  • The trendline ends in an improvement from the starting point. 
  • In economics, the J-curve shows how a currency depreciation causes a severe worsening of a trade imbalance followed by a substantial improvement.

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