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The financial term “Nominal” refers to the face value of an economic item as stated without considering inflation or interest. In terms of interest rates, it’s the simple or quoted rate, not adjusted for compounding or inflation. Thus, the Nominal value doesn’t reflect the real value or purchasing power of an item or investment.


The phonetic spelling of the word “Nominal” is /ˈnɑːmɪnəl/.

Key Takeaways

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  1. Nominal type or nominal scale is a scale of measurement used in data classification where numbers only serve as labels or tags for identifying and classifying objects or events.
  2. A nominal scale measurement usually deals with non-numeric variables and is used in statistical analysis to group or categorize certain variables without giving them a specific order or value. For example, gender, hair color, or religion.
  3. Nominal data can be used in methods such as the Chi-square test or the One-Way ANOVA for analysis. It’s unique because unlike other scales of measurement, inter-data relationships cannot be analyzed based on nominal scale data.

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The term “Nominal” is important in business/finance because it represents the face value of an economic element such as price, interest rate, or investment, without considering other factors that may influence its real value over time like inflation. It serves as a baseline or initial reference point. For instance, it is used when calculating the nominal interest rate, which is the rate before inflation is accounted for. This distinction is essential because inflation erodes the purchasing power of money over time and thus affects the ‘real’ value of interest returns or investments. By considering both the nominal and real value of financial quantities, stakeholders can make more accurate and informed economic decisions.


Nominal, in the sphere of finance and business, serves an important role in making comparisons and evaluations of economic factors over time. This term refers to the face value of an economic indicator without taking into consideration the effects of inflation or changes in purchasing power. It provides a raw, uncomplicated point of reference when looking at factors such as interest rates, GDP, or individual assets. For instance, the nominal interest rate represents the simple interest rate outlined in a loan agreement or investment, without taking account of compounding or inflation.The purpose of such “nominal” values is to offer a straightforward and constant reference point applicable in diverse financial situations. Understanding the nominal value of a monetary instrument or a financial metric allows businesses and investors to keep track of economic elements in their most basic, unchanged state. However, the nominal value fails to provide a completely accurate picture since it does not account for real world factors like inflation. And so, for a more precise understanding of the economic landscape, the nominal value often needs to be adjusted to its “real” value.


1. Interest Rates: Nominal interest rate refers to the interest rate before accounting for inflation. If a bank offers a nominal interest rate of 5% on a savings account, that’s the rate you’ll see on your account, but it doesn’t mean your cash will grow by exactly 5% due to the potential impact of inflation.2. Economic Growth Rate: A country’s nominal GDP is a basic measure of its economic performance without adjusting for inflation. For example, if the U.S. reported a nominal GDP growth of 4% for a given year, that’s not considering the inflation during that year which might have been 2%.3. Wage Rate: If an employee gets a raise of 7% this year while the inflation rate is 2%, their nominal wage increase is 7%, but their real wage increase when taking into account inflation is only 5%.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What does the term nominal mean in finance or business?

In finance or business, the term nominal refers to a rate or value that has not been adjusted for inflation. It represents the face value or stated value of an economic item.

What is the difference between nominal and real value?

The major difference between nominal and real value is the adjustment for inflation. While nominal value is the face value or stated value, real value takes inflation into account, providing a more accurate reflection of the value over time.

How is nominal interest rate determined?

The nominal interest rate is primarily determined by the strength of the borrower’s credit, the terms of the loan, the inflation rate, and the underlying risk of the lending transaction.

Can nominal value change over time?

No, the nominal value does not typically change over time as it does not account for factors like inflation, depreciation, and other market conditions. It remains the same as the face value or stated value.

How does inflation impact nominal values?

Inflation does not impact the nominal value of a financial item since nominal values are not adjusted for inflation. However, the purchasing power of the nominal value may decrease in times of high inflation.

Why is it important to consider both nominal and real values in finance?

It is important because looking only at the nominal value might give a misleading picture of the actual economic scenario, especially in times of inflation. Real values help in understanding the true buying power or the actual worth of money over time.

Is the nominal exchange rate affected by inflation?

No, the nominal exchange rate is not directly affected by inflation. However, inflation can indirectly influence it as countries with higher inflation usually see their currency depreciate, impacting the nominal exchange rate.

What does nominal GDP mean?

Nominal GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a specific period, without adjusting for inflation. It reflects the current prices of goods and services in the economy.

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