NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- As deflationary concerns continue to make headlines among investors, dividend-paying investments, interest-bearing investments and cash become more appealing.
Weak economic figures, a decline in money supply and fiscal tightening around the world are a few reasons why falling prices could be in the near future. Other factors that could lead to a drop in prices include tight credit markets, declines in consumer spending and high unemployment. These could lead to a reduction in the demand for goods. Declines in the demand for goods eventually results in excess supply, which further leads to a decline in prices to bring supply and demand in equilibrium.
A fall in prices can be detrimental to an economic recovery if businesses and consumers become reluctant to spend and decide to hold on to any disposable cash. This decrease in money supply is most devastating to economies which are highly-dependent on consumer spending, such as the United States. Other results of deflation include erosion to consumer confidence and amplification to the burden of both household and public-sector debt.
Signs of deflation in the U.S. have already started to emerge. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the consumer price index has been dropping over the last three months. In June, CPI dropped by 0.1%, in May by 0.2% and in April by 0.1% pushing the price index below its January 2010 levels. In general, as CPI declines, deflation looms. Additionally, the Federal Reserve recently reported that consumer credit decreased at an annual rate of 4.5% in May and revolving credit decreased at an annual rate of 10.5% during the same time period. These declines in credit utilization contributed to a 1.2% decrease in consumer spending, a trend prevalent in times of deflation because consumers believe that dollars will be worth more in the future and are postponing purchases.Generally, cash is the best investment in times of deflation; however, one could also consider investments with a steady cash flow stream that shoot off generous dividends and interest payments. Some deflationary plays, which give diversified access to the dividend-paying stocks like Altria (MO), AT&T (T) and CenturyLink (CTL) include:
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