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For more on the CPI, such as how it is constructed, its uses, and how it can be used to protect against inflation, refer to Why the CPI Is a Friend to Investors.
What causes inflation? How does it affect your investments and standard of living? The tutorial All About Inflation has the answers.
Deflation is a general decline in prices, often caused by a reduction in the supply of money or credit. Deflation can also be caused by a decrease in government, personal or investment spending. The opposite of inflation, deflation has the side effect of increased unemployment since there is a lower level of demand in the economy, which can lead to an economic depression.
Declining prices, if they persist, generally create a vicious spiral of negatives such as falling profits, closing factories, shrinking employment and incomes, and increasing defaults on loans by companies and individuals. To counter deflation, the Federal Reserve (the Fed) can use monetary policy to increase the money supply and deliberately induce rising prices, causing inflation. Rising prices provide an essential lubricant for any sustained recovery because businesses increase profits and take some of the depressive pressures off wages and debtors of every kind.
This is the opposite of inflation, which is characterized by rising prices (do not confuse deflation with disinflation, which is simply a slowing of inflation). To many economists, deflation is more serious than inflation because deflation is more difficult to control.
Equity prices begin to decline as people sell off their investments, which are no longer offering good returns, and bonds temporarily become more attractive.
This is a condition of slow economic growth and relatively high unemployment - a time of stagnation - accompanied by a rise in prices, or inflation.
Stagflation occurs when the economy isn't growing but prices are, which is not a good situation for a country to be in. This happened to a great extent during the 1970s, when world oil prices rose dramatically, fueling sharp inflation in developed countries. For these countries, including the
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