inflation

A guide from inflation to stagflation

by Madaline Dunn

The world of economics can sometimes appear inaccessible and confusing; that said, some particular terms are important to understand. Inflation, deflation, hyperinflation and stagflation all affect the cost of living, impacting the price of food, transport and electricity, as well as savings accounts and investments.

At The Salary Calculator, we’ll walk you through:

  • What inflation and deflation mean
  • What stagflation means
  • Examples of hyperinflation through the ages
  • How to guard yourself against the impacts of inflation

What are inflation and deflation?

Inflation can be defined as the rate at which prices rise and generally applies to goods and services. It can increase depending on various factors, including an increase in production cost or a surge in demand for a product. Each month the Office of National Statistics (ONS) releases its measure of inflation through the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

An example of how inflation works is as follows: If an avocado costs £1 initially and the following year its price increases to £1.03, this means inflation has increased its price by 3%.

Britain’s inflation rate recently jumped to 2.5%, up from 2.1% in June 2021, which is the highest in nearly three years. Unfortunately, the Bank of England expects that it could reach 3% by the end of the year.

Deflation, meanwhile, refers to when the rate of inflation becomes negative. While this may appear to be a good thing, in the world of economics, it’s usually considered to be problematic. Common causes of deflation include:

  • Technological advancements
  • Lower production costs
  • Decreased confidence in the economy
  • An increase in unemployment

What is stagflation?

This term is pretty self-explanatory and refers to an economic situation whereby levels of unemployment are high, economic growth stagnates, and interest rates are also high. The UK was hit hard by stagflation back in the 1970s, caused in part by the OPEC oil crisis. That said, it is a rare occurrence economically.

Hyperinflation through the ages

While inflation can significantly impact the economy and make life a lot more expensive, hyperinflation takes this to the next level. It occurs when prices rise at a rate over 50% a month.

While also rare, hyperinflation has occurred numerous times throughout history. The worst example of hyperinflation occurred in Hungary in 1946, where prices doubled every 15.6 hours. Meanwhile, hyperinflation in Weimar Germany reached rates of over 30,000% per month. Elsewhere, in January 1994, Yugoslavia’s inflation reached 313 million percent. During this time, prices doubled every 34 hours!

Guarding yourself against inflation

Understandably, talk about inflation can prick people’s ears and cause concern. However, there are methods that you can use to protect yourself against the effects of inflation.

When faced with inflation, it’s a good idea to use the savings you have to reduce your debt, whether that’s credit card debt or an overdraft. Of course, you shouldn’t deplete all of your savings in this way; it’s always wise to have an emergency fund.

That being said, if you notice you have an excess of savings, it can be beneficial to invest a portion of your surplus. Here, investment in equities is a good move.

Equally, ensuring that you maximise your tax efficiency is an effective way to guard yourself against inflation. ISAs are great here and allow you to save and grow investments free of tax.

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Monday, July 19th, 2021 Economy No Comments

None of the content on this website, including blog posts, comments, or responses to user comments, is offered as financial advice. Figures used are for illustrative purposes only.

Rocky road to financial recovery

by Admin

Although the UK entered recession as long ago as the second half of 2008 and officially exited recession at the end of 2009, a full recovery still seems a long way off. This week was one of mixed messages – some good and some bad.

First came the bad news that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) had increased from 4% to 4.5% in April. The CPI is used to measure inflation in the UK and to compare it with the government’s target of 2%. A low level of inflation (like 2%) is a sign of a healthy economy, but higher rates usually mean that the costs of goods and services are increasing faster than workers’ wages, leading to a lower standard of living. For those of us already finding it hard to make ends meet, this is obviously bad news.

On the flip side, however, there was news that unemployment fell in the first quarter of this year. The decrease was only slight, to 7.7% from 7.8% the previous quarter, but it is a promising sign – as is the fact that the number of people in employment has increased to 29.24 million, just short of the pre-recession peak of 29.57 million.

What does all of this mean? Well unfortunately, these numbers are just a small part of the complex system that makes up the British economy and predicting what will happen next is astonishingly difficult – as no doubt you’ve noticed in the past few years. However, it seems that the economy is continuing on its long, slow recovery from the greatest recession in living memory. The recovery appears to be fragile – which is one of the reasons that the Bank of England has left its base rate at 0.5% for the 26th month in a row. You know what they say – slow and steady wins the race!

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Saturday, May 21st, 2011 Economy No Comments

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