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Deflation - Fall of Prices of Goods and Services

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What is Deflation?

Deflation is a long-term decline in asset and consumer prices. A sustained decline in demand is what is actually responsible for the widespread deflation. Deflation is also called negative inflation. When the cost of goods and services rises, it is considered inflation, whereas when they fall, it is considered deflation.



Advantages Of Deflation

Here are several ways the benefits of deflation might be stated:

  • Enhanced Capacity to Spend: If inflation is negative, or deflation occurs, then currency appreciates. As a result, consumers have more money to spend and merchants may reduce their prices.

  • Monthly Budget: Since commodity prices decline during deflation, consumers can meet their basic necessities with less money. Thus, it helps those with lower and intermediate incomes by lowering their monthly outlays.

  • The Savings Rate Rises: When prices of things drop and consumers spend less money, deflation sets in and causes them to save more.

  • Elevated Average Income: Since deflation reduces spending and boosts savings, it aids in maintaining a higher quality of life.

  • Helpful to the Debtors: Real debt loads rise as deflation bites. The beneficiaries here are the debt holders.

  • Spend Less Money On Running a Business: Deflation reduces the price of doing business by causing a drop in the cost of inputs including raw materials, equipment, technology, and fixed assets. Consequently, it is a good time to invest for the long term.

Disadvantages Of Deflation

We may summarise the major disadvantages of deflation as follows:

  • Lower Spending: Some consumers may cut back on spending on high-end items in the hope that their prices may drop even more in the near future. Therefore, deflation may lead to less spending by consumers, which is bad for the economy.

  • Loss for Investors: During a period of deflation, the value of stock held by investors and manufacturers is eroded, causing losses for those parties.

  • Boost the Worth of Debt: Since the value of debt rises in a deflationary economy, it becomes more difficult for current borrowers to pay off their loans.

  • Potential for Joblessness: When prices drop, businesses lose money, and as a result, some of them may go out of business altogether. It might lead to an increase in joblessness.

  • Reduced GDP: Reduced economic growth and political unpredictability result from reduced output, decreased consumer spending, rising debt levels, and high unemployment.

Types of Deflation

Many people view deflation as an economic "problem" that might make a recession worse or trigger a deep recession. There are two types of deflation discussed below:

  • Strategic Deflation:

When the country implements a monetary policy to reduce the overconsumption of the population, it causes strategic deflation. In this situation, since the frequency of overconsumption is reduced, it may help prevent the rise of the market price of products.

  • Circulation Deflation:

This kind develops as a result of a nation's unpredictable economic circumstances. Circulation deflation happens when a stable economy is going through a slowdown during its transition period. Such circumstances will undoubtedly worry the general population.

There is also the manufacture of the same commodities in comparable numbers, which is considered excessive. Later on, this can lead to a sharp drop in the cost of goods.

What Causes Deflation?

Deflation can occur due to a lot of reasons. A few important reasons are:

  • Decreased Consumer Demand

When the demand for a product falls, it happens either due to high prices or insufficient product supply. This leads a business to take decisions like decreasing the prices or reducing the number of employees.

A vicious cycle is caused by deflation. Whenever a business decides to cut down jobs, it causes a further fall in demand leading to more job cuts. With the fall in employment, there is a decline in business demand. Businesses have no option but to reduce prices.

  • Fall in Production Cost

The production cost goes down whenever the cost of key production input. For example, if cotton prices have decreased, the production cost of garments will eventually fall. Under such a scenario, producers might increase production, causing an oversupply of the products. But if the demand remains unchanged, businesses will need to cut their prices to keep consumers buying their products.

  • Supply of Money

If the central bank decides to put strong interest rates in their monetary policies, the people intend to save their money instead of spending it. This causes a reduction in cash circulation in the country. In another scenario, deflation can reach significant levels when the money supply does not rise at the same rate as economic output.

For example, a country makes 100 toys a year with a money circulation of 100 dollars. However, it now produces 200 toys as a result of economic developments. However, the central bank is unable to create enough money to be spent on the amount of production. As a result, 200 toys represent $100. It causes deflation since each toy now costs 0.5 dollars.

  • Fierce Competition in the Market

Deflation is caused when there is fierce competition in the market among competitors, which causes aggressive competition in the market. This usually leads them to cut down their prices to attract more and more customers to make a place in the market.

How does Deflation Impact an Economy?

During inflation, people tend to spend less and save more. On the other hand, the stock market faces high fluctuations, Which results in strict regulations taken by the government. The investment behaviour of investors is affected by this, and they tend to make safe and conservative investments. Favourable investment strategies are either short-term Investments or tangible Investments. Examples of short-term investments are money market accounts, short-term mutual funds, peer-to-peer lending, and treasury bonds.


Deflation refers to a time when prices of products are generally lower, and the value of money is higher. Deflation is of two types that is strategic deflation and circulation deflation. The causes of deflation are decreased consumer demand, a fall in production cost, an insufficient supply of money and fierce competition in the market. Deflation results in a deflation spiral, higher unemployment, increased debt rates and reduced investment.

Last updated date: 17th Sep 2023
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FAQs on Deflation - Fall of Prices of Goods and Services

1. Is the difference between inflation and deflation?

Deflation is Defined as a situation in which the prices of goods fall over time. The cause of deflation is a decrease in public money circulation. It is also known as negative inflation. 

While inflation can be defined as a significant increase in the prices of goods and is caused when there is an increase in public money circulation. An imbalance between the supply and demand of money, modifications to the cost of manufacturing and distribution, or an increase in product taxes are all causes of inflation.

2. Explain the positive as well as the negative impact of deflation.

Since the prices of goods decrease, the accessibility of basic requirements goes up, this eventually leads to a higher standard of living of the people because they have an access to a variety of products, which is one positive impact of deflation.

Deflation harms a country and its economy since a company's or business's revenue will drop due to deflation. This results in a large number of layoffs of employees and rising unemployment rates. Which is the negative impact of deflation.

3. What are the measures to be taken during the time of deflation?

Deflation can be dealt with with the help of a few measures. Through a cheap money policy, the central bank can raise the reserves of commercial banks to control deflation. By purchasing assets and lowering the interest rate, they can achieve this. Government can also fight deflation through an increase in public spending and a decrease in taxation. By using this measure national income, employment, output, and prices tend to increase. Increased public spending deflation boosts demand for products and services.