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Data Liberation Initiative Price Indexes at Statistics Canada Gylliane Gervais March 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Data Liberation Initiative Price Indexes at Statistics Canada Gylliane Gervais March 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Data Liberation Initiative Price Indexes at Statistics Canada Gylliane Gervais March 2009

2 What is a price index? An indicator of the rate of price change over a specified period (month, quarter, year) – CPI monthly in Canada, quarterly in Australia Comparison of price level through time – Today in relation to the base year, ex = 100 – The most frequently quoted indicator is the 12-month change (not affected by seasonality and collection periodicity) …but can also be in spatial terms – Ex. Canada = 100 (city in relation to the Canadian average) – International Comparison Program (between countries)

3 Main price indexes published Consumer (products) Industrial products Raw materials Construction – Union wage rates – New housing – Non residential buildings Machinery and equipment Farm products – Agriculture Division Exports and imports of merchandise – Goods in SNA and Balance of payments parlance – International Trade Division

4 New price indexes soon to be published New quarterly indexes to be published in fall 2009: Wholesaling margins Retailing margins Truck transportation Commercial rent – Non-residential buildings (i.e. commercial and industrial) Leasing of machinery and equipment

5 What is the Consumer Price Index (CPI)? An indicator of changes in consumer prices obtained by comparing the cost of a fixed basket of goods and services through time – In relation to a base year – Target population: private households in urban and rural areas – Fixed basket in terms of quantity and quality Roughly prices collected each month – Of which rents (through the LFS) Monthly release, days after reference month Never revised

6 All items CPI, Canada (2002=100) 1992 to

7 How is the CPI used? To measure inflation – Most commonly quoted measure of inflation – Key indicator for monetary policy To deflate series expressed at current prices – Ex.: consumer expenditure in GDP, retail sales – By dividing a monetary value by an index To index or adjust monetary values for inflation – Ex.: contracts, wages, pensions, allowances, tax brackets etc. – By multiplying a value by an index (reverse of deflation)

8 How is it constructed? Define the basket consumed by the target population – Required to select representative products for each component and to fix weights for those component Establish specifications for these products – Mild cheddar cheese, 520 gr., generic or store brand, yellow or white… Select outlets where prices will be collected Determine collection frequency

9 Base year of the CPI The base or reference period refers to the fixed period to which prices of the current period will be compared – The existing base year of the CPI is 2002 – Shown as (2002 = 100) Usually changed every 5 years Change of base year – Does not affect the change in an index over a given period – Only affects level of the index Base year of index reference year of the basket

10 Basket of the CPI Current basket reflects 2005 household expenditure patterns – Introduced at the same time as the 2002 base year in 2007 Based on the annual Survey of Household Spending – Sample of households, national in scope Also updated every 4-5 years – Could be updated annually (ex.: France, Sweden) A recent basket is more important than a recent base year to ensure the quality of the index – Updating of weights of basic classes with new basket – Between baskets, it is possible to update basket components and to modify weights

11 Content of the basket Constituted by a sample of goods and services purchased by consumers Selected products must have a sufficient weight in household spending to be taken into account in the index – At least 0.01% Assumption: price movements of uncollected items are well represented by other products in same category – Prices of the 200 g of garlic butter (not in the sample) and the 450 g unsalted butter (in the sample) will behave similarly

12 Content of the basket Some goods and services are excluded from the basket: – Goods and services financed through taxes Ex.: medical care – Life insurance premiums Premiums for vehicle and property insurance are included – Financial investments, contributions to pension plans – Used goods – Interest paid on consumer loans – Donations – Lotteries and games of chance – Illegal goods and services

13 Classification of goods and services The content of the basket follows a hierarchical structure called classification of goods and services It serves as the framework around which work is organised – Calculation of weights – Price collection – Calculation of indexes – Analysis and presentation of results Made up of 8 major categories, the major components At bottom level, the structure has 168 basic classes – Group of products deemed homogenous with respect to price change

14 Major components Food Shelter Household operation and furnishings Clothing and footwear Transportation Health and personal care Recreation, education and reading Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products

15 CPI weights –2005 basket Major components as shares of total expenditure

16 Selection of products The 168 basic classes are broken down into more than 600 goods and services There are product specifications The selection of a product is judgemental, and takes into account the following criteria: – Its price movement should represent the price movement of other prices in the category – It has to be on the market for a reasonable period Products with the largest market share are commonly selected

17 Frequency of price collection The frequency of price collection depends on the volatility of the price and the weight of the component Gasoline: 4 times a month Seasonal products:collected in season price kept fixed between collections Paid rents Monthly collection Imputed rents No explicit index Price of related expenditure, variable Property taxes, maintenance and repairs

18 Geographic coverage Indexes calculated for Canada, 10 provinces, Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Iqaluit and 11 large cities Geographic coverage of collection varies with the product: – Prices heavily influenced by local market conditions or regulated by local authorities collected in more than 70 cities Water, rents and property taxes – Prices not determined by local factors collected in a few cities Compact discs, cars – Prices set centrally collected from provincial or national agencies Vehicle registration

19 CPI versus Cost-of-living index The CPI is not a cost-of-living index – A cost-of-living measure represents the amount of money needed to maintain a constant standard of living – It allows for substitution between products According to consumers preference The CPI is based on a fixed-basket concept (fixed weights for life of basket) and does not allow for substitution, which introduces an upward bias To limit the problem, the CPI weights are updated in general every 4 years

20 What is published? The index with its reference period – All items index, Canada, Dec (2002 = 100) The % change in relation to the previous months index – Decrease of 0.4 % (seasonally adjusted) in December 2008 The % change in relation to same month of previous year – Increase of 1.1% between January 2008 and January 2009 The % change between the annual average indexes of the calendar years – Increase of 2.3% between 2007 and 2008

21 Other published information Seasonally adjusted indexes – All-items, 8 major components, 3 special aggregates Spatial or inter-city price indexes – 11 cities Average retail prices for Canada – 58 goods, mostly food, some household products and toiletries, and cigarettes Average retail prices of gasoline and fuel oil – 18 cities

22 Information on the CPI The consumer price index (cat. no. 62­001­XPB, monthly) The Daily Free on Internet: Reference documents Your Guide to the Consumer Price Index (cat. no XPB) Free on the Internet through the Daily or IMDB: The consumer price index reference paper Update based on 1992 expenditures (cat. no Occasional) Free on the Internet through the Daily or IMDB: bin/imdb/ m=8&dis=2#4 Electronic databank: CANSIM Internet :

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