By  on May 11, 2009

Major banks may be healthier than originally feared and hopes may be rising that the economy has bottomed out, but there is still one word that continues to strike terror in the hearts of business executives and government officials alike: deflation.

Even as Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke last week proclaimed “some improvement in consumer sentiment,” the specter of the American economy experiencing a prolonged downward spiral in prices — as is already happening in countries from Spain to Japan — is a major concern. And it’s likely to remain one until consumers find their footing and government stimulus funds siphon through to pocketbooks.

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