How does inflation affect the stock market?: The world’s financial environment has become incredibly tangled and multifaceted. The global availability of information to investors, particularly in rural areas, thanks to the internet, has caused investor sentiment to shift from an emotional response to an analysis and data-driven one.
Inflation serves as a prime example of this. In the past, most individuals viewed inflation as an indication of an unhealthy economy.
However, in the present day, investors have become more knowledgeable about economic cycles and are capable of making sound investment decisions at each stage of a country’s economy.
Therefore, today, we will discuss inflation in general and evaluate its influence on the stock markets in India. Let’s start with a blog topic on How does inflation affect the stock market.
What is Inflation?
In simple words, inflation refers to the gradual increase in the prices of goods and services. As the inflation rate rises, so does the cost of living, resulting in a decrease in purchasing power.
As an example, suppose bananas were priced at Rs.100 per kilo in 2010. In an inflationary economy, the cost of bananas would have increased by 2020.
Let’s assume that the price of a Banana is now Rs.200 per kilo in 2020. Thus, in 2010, with Rs.1000, you could buy 10kg of Banana.
However, in 2020, due to the decrease in purchasing power caused by inflation, you would only be able to buy 5kg of Bananas for the same amount.
To understand inflation in detail, let’s have a look at what is the reason behind inflation. So, there are two major factors behind an increase in the rate of inflation in the economy.
1) Demand > Supply
One reason for an increase in the inflation rate is when the average income of individuals in an economy rises, and they want to purchase more goods and services.
During such times, the demand for these products and services can exceed their supply, resulting in a scarcity of these goods and services. Consequently, buyers are willing to pay more for them, which leads to a general increase in prices.
2) Increase in the cost of production
Another reason for an increase in the inflation rate is when the cost of production of goods and services increases due to an increase in the costs of raw materials, labour, taxes, etc.
While this leads to an increase in the cost of production, it also causes a decrease in the supply of these goods and services. With the demand remaining constant, the prices tend to increase.
Inflation and the Indian Stock Markets
The price of a share in the stock markets is determined by the interplay of demand and supply, which is influenced by a variety of factors, including social, political, economic, cultural, and so on.
Anything that affects investors can have an impact on the demand and supply of stocks, and inflation is no exception. Here is a brief overview of the impact of inflation on stock markets:
1. The Purchasing Power of Investors
Inflation, by definition, is a rise in the prices of goods and services, and it is also an indicator of the diminishing value of money.
Therefore, if the inflation rate is 5%, then Rs.10, 000 today will be worth Rs.9, 500 after one year. If the inflation rate increases to 10%, then the same amount will be worth even less in the future.
So, as the inflation rate increases, the purchasing power of investors decreases. This decrease in purchasing power can directly impact the stock market since investors would be able to purchase fewer stocks for the same amount.
2. Interest Rates
When the inflation rate rises, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) often increases interest rates for deposits and loans. This move is intended to encourage people to save money and limit excess liquidity, thereby reducing the inflation rate.
However, as loans become more expensive, the cost of capital for companies also increases. Consequently, the projected cash flows of companies are valued lower, which can lead to lower equity valuations.
3. Impact on Stocks
As the increase in the inflation rate, speculation about the future prices of goods and services can create a highly volatile market environment. Since prices are rising, many investors may speculate that companies will experience a drop in profitability. As a result, some investors might decide to sell their shares, leading to a drop in their market price.
However, other investors who remain optimistic about the company’s future profitability may continue to buy these stocks, which can create a volatile environment in the stock market.
Value stocks tend to perform well during times of inflation because they are often more established companies with stable earnings and a history of paying dividends, making them more attractive to investors seeking steady returns. In contrast, growth stocks are often newer companies with higher potential for future earnings, but they may not have established cash flows to support their valuations.
When inflation rises, investors may become more risk-averse and prioritize stable, predictable returns over potential growth, leading to a decline in demand for growth stocks and a corresponding drop in their market prices.
4. Long-term benefits of increasing inflation rates on stock markets
A certain level of inflation is required for an economy to grow, as it encourages spending and investment. A moderate and controlled rise in inflation rates can lead to an increase in the income of the people and help in boosting the economy.
However, if the inflation rate goes beyond a certain limit, it can have a negative impact on the economy. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain a balance between inflation and economic growth.
Investors should analyse the trend of inflation rates in recent years before making any investment decisions. Sudden spikes in inflation rates may cause uncertainty and volatility in the stock markets, while a gradual and steady rise in inflation rates can provide a conducive environment for businesses to grow and expand, leading to higher stock valuations. Additionally, investors should consider investing in sectors that perform well in an inflationary environment, such as energy, commodities, and real estate. We hope that you like our blog “How does inflation affect the stock market?”