In economics, hoarding is distinguished from storing as a normal part of business and storing for speculation.
Hoarding may mean private individuals storing hoards of gold, jewels or money for their own use, with an implication that they do not intend to use or dispose of it.
In economics, it usually refers to private individuals keeping unusually high stocks of goods for their own use, rather than relying on the market. They may see this as a way of attaining food security in a high-risk situation. Hoarding has been perceived to be extremely important in wartime and in famine situations, where it can lead to significant amounts of food and other products being removed from the market, so that people cannot buy them at a time when enough exists to supply the market at the normal price. In hyperinflation situations, they may hoard any non-perishable goods in the belief that they will no longer be able to buy them at future prices. Less dramatically, people may hoard sugar, say, if there is a rumour that the supermarkets are running out of, with the effect that the supermarkets, which keep low stocks, do in fact run out for a week or two. Governments frequently launch anti-hoarding campaigns in such circumstances, suggesting that hoarding is unnecessary, unpatriotic, or anti-social, so the word has emotional overtones. There is often an implication that hoarding occurs because individuals do not believe that the market will operate efficiently in current or expected conditions.