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Inflation is a phenomenon of persistent growth of the overall price level in an economy. Inflation rate shows how fast prices are growing and is usually calculated as the percentage change of the price level over the previous year. Deflation, in turn, is a persistent decline in prices, which is a more rare phenomenon than inflation. Countries with the highest inflation rate in the world in 2019 are Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Argentina, and Iran.

But how to measure the price level? There are two major approaches used in practice: consumer price index (CPI) and GDP deflator. The GDP deflator is the ratio of nominal GDP to real GDP (in calculating nominal GDP, quantities of products sold are multiplied by current prices in each period while in calculating real GDP, quantities are multiplied by constant prices as if they do not change from period to period).

So, GDP deflator shows the price level of all goods and services produced in an economy. Consumer price index, in turn, shows price level of only of a subset of products consumed in an economy which excludes goods and services sold to firms - like equipment - and includes imported products (not included in GDP deflator).

Inflation rates measured through CPI and GDP deflator, give, in general, similar results. But consumer price inflation is usually published by national statistical agencies of countries on a monthly basis, while GDP deflator - once a quarter, in line with GDP data. This page presents the list of countries by inflation rate measured in both consumer price index and GDP deflator.

There is a negative relationship between inflation and unemployment rate known as the Phillips relationship in the macroeconomy. It means that in the periods of low unemployment, inflation tends to grow and in periods of high unemployment inflation tends to decrease.

The inflation rate is closely monitored by central banks of countries as it may increase uncertainty, affect income distribution, and create other skewness. Targeting inflation rate is one of the instruments of monetary policies.

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