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Deflation is an economic term that refers to a decrease in the general price level of goods and services. This situation often occurs when the inflation rate falls below zero percent, leading to an increase in the real value of money. Deflation can increase spending power but can also signal a slowdown in the economy.


The phonetic spelling of “Deflation” is: /dɪˈfleɪʃən/

Key Takeaways

Sure, here are the three main takeaways about Deflation:“`html

  1. Deflation refers to a decrease in the overall price level of goods and services within an economy. This happens when the inflation rate falls below 0% (a negative inflation rate), leading to an increase in the real value of money.
  2. While deflation might initially seem beneficial due to the reduction in prices, prolonged deflation can lead to an economic crisis. As buyers start expecting further price drops, they delay purchases, which in turn reduces demand, leading to a fall in production activities and thus, an economic downturn.
  3. Central banks and governments usually try to prevent deflation by conducting expansionary monetary or fiscal policies such as cutting interest rates or increasing government spending. Such measures aim to increase demand and push up prices, thereby hoping to steer clear of potential economic troubles caused by deflation.



Deflation is an important term in business/finance as it refers to a general decrease in the price level of goods and services, often caused by a decrease in the supply of money or credit or a decrease in spending. While it increases the buying power of money, it could also mean less profit for businesses due to lower prices, and may result in lower production, layoffs and a decrease in economic activity. It can also lead to a deflationary spiral where the decrease in prices leads to lower production, leading to lower wages and demand, which leads to further decreases in prices. Understanding and monitoring deflation is crucial for policy makers, investors, and businesses for making informed decisions and strategies.


Deflation, in economic terms, refers to an overall decrease in the general price level of goods and services. It is typically associated with a contraction in the supply of money and credit, but it can also occur due to increased production efficiency, reduced demand for goods and a decrease in the supply of goods. Though on the surface it might seem beneficial as items becoming cheaper can spur consumer spending, prolonged deflation can be harmful to an economy.For businesses, deflation can be difficult because as prices fall, they often have to lower their prices to match the market, leading to less revenue. Furthermore, debts fixed in dollar amounts become more expensive in real terms, which could result in increased defaults and bankruptcies. For individuals, deflation could increase the real value of their currency, enabling them to buy more goods and services. However, deflation can discourage spending and investment as consumers and businesses might delay spending in anticipation of further price decreases, potentially leading to a downward spiral of decreased production, higher unemployment, and further deflation. Hence, it’s crucial for monetary authorities to maintain an optimal balance to prevent both high inflation and high deflation, for the smooth running of an economy.


1. Japan’s Lost Decade: In the 1990s, Japan experienced a period of economic stagnation and price deflation known as the “Lost Decade.” This was a period where the prices of goods and services declined steadily. One of the consequences was that businesses became hesitant to make new investments, resulting in limited economic growth.2. The Great Depression in the United States: Deflation was experienced significantly during the Great Depression (1929-1939). During this time period, there was a severe worldwide economic depression that led to decreased consumer spending and severe deflation. This deflation increased the value of debt, which further discouraged spending and investment, deepening the depression.3. The Financial Crisis of 2008: In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, deflationary pressures were felt in many economies around the world. The spill-over impact of the meltdown resulted in decreased demand for goods and services, leading to downward pressure on prices. While central banks intervened to try to mitigate deflation, several countries like Spain and Portugal experienced periods of deflation.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is deflation?

Deflation is an economic term that refers to a general decrease in the level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.

What causes deflation?

Deflation usually occurs when the supply of goods or services is higher than the demand. Other causes include a reduction in money supply or credit, and surplus in raw materials.

How does deflation affect businesses?

During deflation, consumers postpone buying in anticipation of further price reductions. This causes a decrease in demand for goods & services, leading to reduced sales, profits, and ultimately impacting businesses negatively.

How can one identify deflation?

One can identify deflation by examining a decline in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or other relevant economic indicators.

What is the difference between deflation and disinflation?

While both terms refer to a decrease in the price level, deflation is when this level falls below zero, and disinflation refers to the situation where the price level is increasing, but at a declining rate.

How does deflation impact loans and savings?

In deflation, the real value of money increases, making the burden of debt heavier. Savings, on the other hand, increase in value, making deflation beneficial for savers.

How does the government typically respond to deflation?

Governments generally respond to deflation by implementing expansionary monetary policies. This could involve lowering interest rates, increasing government spending, or any other steps that increase money supply and stimulate economic growth.

Is deflation always bad?

While deflation often has a negative impact due to the decrease in economic activity, it is not always bad. For example, deflation caused by increased production and technological advancements can be beneficial, as it can lower the cost of living.

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