Hyperinflation is an enormously high inflation, in which prices rise rapidly and continuously and money loses its real value.
According to the American economist Phillip D. Cagan, hyperinflation begins the month in which the price increase exceeds 50%, and ends the previous month in which said increase falls below that rate and then remains so for at least one year.
So, while inflation is announced every year, for hyperinflation, shorter, mainly monthly periods are taken into account.
Hyperinflations usually occur as a result of vicious circles, in which more inflation is created in each new cycle.
Examples of hyperinflation have been those lived in Germany between 1921 and 1923, in Mexico between 1972 and 1987, in Peru in the 80s and 90s, in Argentina between 1989 and 1990 or in Venezuela in 2015 and 2016.
Causes and consequences of hyperinflation
Hyperinflation occurs for various reasons, the main one being the increase in the supply of paper money by decision of the Central Bank of the country to finance public spending.
This increase in the supply of money, which is not supported by economic growth, that is, in the production of goods and services, creates an imbalance between supply and demand.
The currency, then, begins to lose its real value, which brings with it a loss of confidence in the money by the population.
Citizens, then, fearing the rapid devaluation of money, do not want to retain money, extraordinarily raising their level of consumption and acquiring non-monetary assets to preserve their wealth, or converting it into more stable foreign currencies.
The main consequences of hyperinflation are a rapid loss of purchasing power by the population, the discouragement of savings and investment in that currency, and the flight of capital from the country, effects, all these, of a deep economic depression.