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Causes of Inflation | | The basic causes of inflation were covered at AS level. This note considers the demand and supply-side courses in more detail including the impact of changes in the exchange rate and the prices of goods and services in the international economy.Cost Push InflationCost-push inflation occurs when businesses respond to rising production costs, by raising prices in order to maintain their profit margins. There are many reasons why costs might rise:Rising imported raw materials costs perhaps caused by inflation in countries that are heavily dependent on exports of these commodities or alternatively by a fall in the value of the pound in the foreign exchange markets which increases the UK price of imported inputs. A good example of cost push inflation was the decision by British Gas and other energy suppliers to raise substantially the prices for gas and electricity that it charges to domestic and industrial consumers at various points during 2005 and 2006.Rising labour costs - caused by wage increases which exceed any improvement in productivity. This cause is important in those industries which are ‘labour-intensive’. Firms may decide not to pass these higher costs onto their customers (they may be able to achieve some cost savings in other areas of the business) but in the long run, wage inflation tends to move closely with price inflation because there are limits to the extent to which any business can absorb higher wage expenses.Higher indirect taxes imposed by the government – for example a rise in the rate of excise duty on alcohol and cigarettes, an increase in fuel duties or perhaps a rise in the standard rate of Value Added Tax or an extension to the range of products to which VAT is applied. These taxes are levied on producers (suppliers) who, depending on the price elasticity of demand and supply for their products, can opt to…...

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