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What Is Biflation?

Biflation is the simultaneous occurrence of inflation and deflation in a economy. Biflation, is essentially a misnomer, since the concepts of inflation and deflation both allude to general rise or decline in all prices as opposed to a change in relative prices between various economic goods or asset classes. Biflation is a neologism for a type of Cantillon effect which happens when expansionary monetary policy is applied to mitigate a recession.

Grasping Biflation

Biflation, a relatively new term begat in 2003 by Dr. F. Osborne Brown, a senior financial analyst for the Phoenix Investment Group, generally kicks in when central banks open up the monetary nozzles in a bid to animate a deteriorated economy. Since the terms inflation and deflation allude to general, expansive changes in price, the name of the term biflation is fairly misleading on the grounds that it fundamentally includes no increase or lessening in the general price level, however alludes to change in relative prices driven by changes in the supply of money and credit in various markets. It depicts a sort of Cantillon effect that happens when expansionary monetary policy during a recession results in uncontrolled demand for commodity assets drives their prices to rise while debt-based assets are falling in value.

A Cantillon effect is a change in relative prices coming about because of a change in money supply, which was first portrayed by eighteenth century economist Richard Cantillon. Making bunches of cheap money accessible through banks doesn't naturally mean that demand for all that will rise simultaneously. All things considered, history shows that certain assets take favor over others, leading to rising in certain areas of the economy and falling prices in others.

Since money added to the economy (through lending and asset purchases by the central bank) or eliminated from the economy (through debt compose downs and liquidations) occur at specific points in the economy as opposed to in all markets simultaneously, both inflation and deflation will quite often happen as processes over the long run with differential and sequential changes in prices in various markets. The subsequent relative price changes that happen may befuddle spectators about whether the economy is going through overall inflation or deflation.

Biflation is a specific type of Cantillon effect. It happens when during a period of debt deflation (and coming about recession) the central bank siphons money into the economy trying to reinflate asset prices. In any case, regardless of the central bank's efforts, the beneficiaries of the recently made money use it to purchase commodities and related assets as opposed to try and fight the continuous deflationary trend in debt markets. The central bank's work to animate the can fail as well as all things being equal, can bring about a rise in the cost of living as prices of raw materials and consumer staples might rise, like the effects of stagflation.

In a depressed economy, demand for raw materials used to make things like energy, dress, and food will probably remain relatively high since they are considered essential purchases by consumers. Individuals will frequently keep on buying them paying little heed to prices rises, leaving consumers with less money for discretionary expenses.

Leveraged assets like real estate are defenseless to encountering price diminishes in such an environment. At the point when economic growth is stale and unemployment increases, individuals can't necessarily in all cases legitimize buying a home or whatever else that is costly and considered to be unimportant, even if low-interest rates, a key function of expanding the money supply, make it cheaper to borrow.

The end result of a strong hunger for certain assets and weak demand for others is biflation. Unexpectedly prices are rising in one part of the economy and falling in another, giving the presence of a combination of inflation and deflation.

Illustration of Biflation

Remarkable market events made biflation happen in the wake of the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Against a background of high unemployment and a dying housing sector, the Federal Reserve released trillions of dollars in monetary stimulus to kick off the economy, while pledging to keep interest rates low.

Certainly, those measures supported parts of the economy, though not quickly across the board. As opposed to targeting the funding toward restored lending to distressed organizations, for example, banks and Wall Street institutions who received the new money initially held a large part of the funding as cash or directed it into speculative asset classes. Housing prices eventually recuperated, however not so rapidly as liquid assets, for example, stocks, which pulled in investors due to a recovery in corporate earnings powered by low-interest rates.

The economy saw a continuous decline in sectors, for example, housing prices, which fell in numerous districts until mid 2012. On the other hand, prices for fuel rose from 2009 through 2012. The price of gold rose emphatically somewhere in the range of 2009 and 2011, with growth slowing in 2012. Additionally, numerous different commodities markets saw rising prices over generally a similar period.

Special Considerations

Biflation has, in numerous ways, been exacerbated by globalization. As a matter of fact, following the great recession, a considerable lot of the assets that accomplished strong demand and inflation were those that trade universally.

For instance, widespread hunger for energy and metals from quickly industrializing countries, like India and China, was generally responsible at helping costs for the majority commodities in the years promptly following the Great Recession. This made essential raw materials more costly in a period when numerous consumers in the Western world found themselves in critical waterways financially, adding to a shortage of demand for things bought on credit back home, like homes and vehicles.


  • It is a type of Cantillon effect that will in general happen when a monetary stimulus is applied to restore an economy.
  • Biflation includes the simultaneous decline in prices for debt-based assets, for example, home mortgages and related securities alongside a rising trend in commodity-based assets.
  • Biflation is the apparent simultaneous occurrence of inflation and deflation in an economy.