What is Stagflation? How can you beat it?
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What is Stagflation? How can you beat it?
Wealth Management
October 3, 2022

What is Stagflation? How can you beat it?

Stagflation is a rare occurrence. The only time the U.S. experienced it was in the 1970s. However, the World Bank has recently issued a warning about the risks of stagflation that could occur globally - owing to surging prices, the Ukraine-Russia war, and pandemic-related conditions.

What is stagflation, and why should investors care? In this post, we'll review what causes stagflation, how it can impact your portfolio, and some measures that you can take to protect yourself from this economic phenomenon.

Key Takeaways:

  • Stagflation is when inflation is high and economic growth is low.
  • Stagflation can hurt your investment portfolio due to the decline in purchasing power and higher costs of goods.
  • You can protect your portfolio from stagflation by diversifying into assets that tend to do well during this particular economic phenomenon.

The definition of Stagflation

Stagflation refers to a period of slow economic growth and high inflation. This unique combination can be detrimental to both businesses and consumers.

During stagflation, businesses may find it difficult to maintain profit margins as their costs increase. At the same time, consumers may start to cut back on spending as their purchasing power declines. This can lead to even slower economic growth and further deterioration in business conditions.

Where did the concept of stagflation come from?

The term “stagflation” was first coined in 1965 by British politician Iain Macleod. He used it to describe the then-current state of the United Kingdom economy, which was characterized by slow growth and high unemployment.

The concept gained more prominence during the 1970s when the U.S. experienced a sharp increase in oil prices due to the 1973 oil crisis. This, combined with slow economic growth, led to high inflation and rising unemployment.

While stagflation is rare, it can majorly impact businesses and investors. In the 1970s, stagflation caused stock market values to decline by almost half. It took the U.S. economy almost a decade to recover.

What causes stagflation?

Several factors can contribute to an economic slowdown, including: 

  • High-interest rates: When interest rates are high, it can be more expensive for businesses to borrow money for investment. This can lead to reduced spending and lower economic growth.
  • Decreased consumer confidence: If consumers believe that economic conditions are worsening, they may be less likely to spend money. This can further slow down the economy.
  • Weak demand: If consumers are not buying enough goods and services, businesses will have less revenue coming in. This can, in turn, affect production, leading to layoffs and further reducing consumer spending.
  • Political instability: Uncertainty about government policies can lead to businesses delaying investment decisions and thereby slowing down economic growth.
  • Reduced business investment: Businesses may be hesitant to invest in new projects or expand their operations if they believe that economic conditions are deteriorating. 

In the case of stagflation, all of these factors can work together to create a perfect storm of sorts. For example, high-interest rates may discourage businesses from investing and consumers from spending. This lack of activity can then lead to even higher inflation as businesses pass on their increased costs to consumers.

How can investors beat stagflation?

Because it doesn't happen often, many investors don't have a clear plan on how to beat stagflation. However, there are some steps you can take to protect your portfolio during this economic phenomenon:

1. Diversify your portfolio across different asset classes.

One of the best ways to protect your portfolio during stagflation is to diversify your investments across different asset classes. This will help insulate your portfolio from the effects of any one particular economic sector.

For example, you might consider investing in a mix of stocks, crypto, bonds, and/or cash. Or you could add real estate or commodities to your portfolio. By diversifying, you'll be better able to weather the storm if any one particular asset class takes a hit during stagflation.

You could also take advantage of automated trading strategies to help you diversify smartly. Have you heard about the BOTS app? Our app is designed to make choices for you with the lowest possible risk and the highest possible return. No complicated manual trading, just easy access to a steady revenue! Check out how the BOTS app works here.

2. Focus on quality companies with solid balance sheets.

Another way to protect your portfolio during stagflation is to focus on quality companies with solid balance sheets. These companies will be better able to weather the storm and maintain their profitability during periods of slow economic growth.

You can use indicators to assess a company's financial strength - its debt-to-equity ratio, operating cash flow, and return on equity. Companies with solid balance sheets will typically have lower debt levels, stronger cash flows, and higher returns on equity. You must remember that this is just an introduction to many strategies, and this task definitely requires much deeper research from your end.

3. Keep an eye on your expenses.

It's also essential to keep a close eye on your expenses during stagflation. This is because inflation can quickly erode the value of your investment portfolio if you're not careful. 

To help offset the effects of inflation, consider investing in assets that have the potential to appreciate in value over time. For example, stocks and real estate are typically good choices during inflation. However, we must remind you that no infallible strategies exist, and as an investor, you must weigh the pros and cons before taking any decision.

You should also try to avoid making any large purchases during stagflation. This is because the prices of goods and services are likely to increase, so you'll end up paying more than you would have if you had waited.

Final take: Weathering stagflation

Stagflation is a rare economic phenomenon but one that can have a significant impact on businesses and investors alike. If you're worried about stagflation, navigate your investments carefully and do your best to avoid losses.

And finally, remember that while stagflation can be difficult to weather, it is not impossible. You can make it through this challenge with careful long-term planning of your investment portfolio.

Disclaimer:

This blog is for educational purposes only. The information we offer does not constitute investment advice. Please always do your own research before investing. 

Any views expressed in this blog and by BOTS do not constitute a recommendation that any particular cryptocurrency (or cryptocurrency token/asset/index), portfolio of cryptocurrencies, transaction, or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person.

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