Deflation

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TheStreet.com  Nov 1  Comment 
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Bank of Japan surprised global stock markets on Friday after announcing an increase to its stimulus program. "This is an outrageous, terrible idea," said Brian Kelly, founder of Brian Kelly Capital. The U.S. stock...
guardian.co.uk  Oct 31  Comment 
European Central Bank remains under pressure as economists expect renewed downward pressure on inflation Eurozone inflation edged slightly higher in October but economists warned it would provide little relief for policymakers attempting to ward...
New York Times  Oct 31  Comment 
It offers a reminder, or perhaps a warning, of just how hard it will be to get the global economy out of its deflationary funk.
NPR  Oct 31  Comment 
Some of the weakest countries, such as Spain and Italy, are experiencing a broad drop in incomes and asset values. Deflation is a painful process that can be hard to reverse once it starts.
Commodity Online  Oct 31  Comment 
Living the lie has never been more profitable. Take a look at the master of puppets, JP Morgan Chase. Their loan to deposit ratio is at a record low of 56%. The most telling snapshot of the financial system. They are making very few loans and yet...
New York Times  Oct 30  Comment 
Some central banks, scarred from old battles with escalating prices, were slow to see their new, real problem.
Yahoo  Oct 29  Comment 
Anyone betting on another "Great Rotation" of investment flows out of bonds and into stocks is in for disappointment: it's not happening, and isn't going to. In a world where deflation, never the most fertile ground for equities, is a bigger...




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Deflation happens when prices of goods and services are falling in an economy. It is the opposite of inflation.

Causes of deflation: In mainstream economics, deflation may be caused by a combination of the supply and demand for goods and the supply and demand for money, specifically the supply of money going down and the supply of goods going up.

From a monetarist perspective deflation is caused primarily by a reduction in the velocity of money and/or the amount of money supply per person.

In modern credit-based economies, a deflationary spiral may be caused by the (central bank) initiating higher interest rates (i.e., to 'control' inflation), thereby possibly popping an asset bubble or the collapse of a command economy which has been run at a higher level of production than it could actually support.

Effects of deflation: Deflation increases sales and economic activity by making essentials (food, housing, fuel etc.) which cannot be delayed, more affordable to struggling consumers, thereby reducing severity and duration of recession.

In more recent economic thinking, deflation is related to risk: where the risk-adjusted return of assets drops to negative, investors and buyers will hoard currency rather than invest it, even in the most solid of securities. This can produce the theoretical condition, much debated as to its practical possibility, of a liquidity trap.

Deflation is, however, the natural condition of hard currency economies when the rate of increase in the supply of money is not maintained at a rate commensurate to positive population (and general economic) growth. When this happens, the available amount of hard currency per person falls, in effect making money more scarce; and consequently, the purchasing power of each unit of currency increases. The late 19th century provides an example of sustained deflation combined with economic development under these conditions.

Counteracting deflation: Until the 1930s, it was commonly believed by economists that deflation would cure itself. As prices decreased, demand would naturally increase and the economic system would correct itself without outside intervention.

This view was challenged in the 1930s during the Great Depression. Keynesian economists argued that the economic system was not self-correcting with respect to deflation and that governments and central banks had to take active measures to boost demand through tax cuts or increases in government spending. Reserve requirements from the central bank were high and the central bank could then have effectively increased money supply by simply reducing the reserve requirements and through "open" market operations (e.g., buying treasury bonds for cash) to offset the reduction of money supply in the private sectors due to the collapse of credit (credit is a form of money).

With the rise of monetarist ideas, the focus in fighting deflation was put on expanding demand by lowering interest rates (i.e., reducing the "cost" of money). This view has received a setback in light of the failure of accommodative policies in both Japan and the US to spur demand after stock market shocks in the early 1990s and in 2000 - 2002, respectively. Economists now worry about the (inflationary) impact of monetary policies on asset prices. Sustained low real rates can be the direct cause of higher asset prices and excessive debt accumulation. Therefore lowering rates may prove only a temporary palliative, leading to the aggravation of an eventual future debt deflation crisis.

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