An example of the J-curve effect is seen in economics when a country's trade balance initially worsens following a devaluation or depreciation of its currency. The higher exchange rate will at first correspond to more costly imports and less valuable exports, leading to a bigger initial deficit or a smaller surplus. Due to the competitive, relatively low-priced exports, however, a country's exports will start to increase. Local consumers will also purchase less of the more expensive imports and focus on local goods. The trade balance eventually improves to better levels compared to before devaluation.
In private equity funds, the J-curve effect occurs when funds experience negative returns for the first several years. This is a common experience, as the early years of the fund include capital drawdowns and an investment portfolio that has yet to mature. If the fund is well managed, it will eventually recover from its initial losses and the returns will form a J-curve: losses in the beginning dip down below the initial value, and later returns show profits above the initial level.
Investment dictionary. Academic. 2012.
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