Main statistics (monthly) - Consumer Prices
Table 9 presents general consumer price indices (Part A) and Food group indices (Part B). In most cases the general indices cover all the main items of expenditure: food and drink; fuel and light; clothing; rent; miscellaneous. These indices are compiled in most cases monthly and in a few cases quarterly or biannually. Annual figures are derived from the original series.
A uniform base (2000 = 100) has been adopted in the Bulletin in accordance with the practice followed by statistical services of the United Nations and of the specialized agencies. If the original base period of the index is not 2000 the indices are shown in italics and a footnote identifies the base period of the series.
The consumer price indices are designed to measure changes over time in the retail prices of a fixed list of goods and services which are selected as representative of the consumption pattern of the population concerned. The population groups and geographic area covered by these indices differ from country to country. The indices are calculated as weighted arithmetic averages of price relatives usually on the basis of Laspeyres' formula. Retail prices of consumer goods and services included in the index are generally collected from retail outlets and service establishments in the area covered by the index.
The weights, which represent the relative importance of each item, are usually derived from family expenditure surveys, conducted to obtain the pattern of consumption expenditure of the population concerned. Where data on family expenditure are not available, or are insufficient for obtaining a system of weights, special calculations are made for the purpose of establishing the appropriate weighting system. In a few cases weights are derived from the estimated total national consumption of the items under consideration.
National practices vary in the treatment of a number of special problems concerning the computation of consumer price indices. These include seasonal items, quality changes, new products, durable goods, housing cost, etc. (See: Computation of consumer price indices (special problems). Tenth International Conference of Labour Statisticians, Report IV (Geneva, ILO, 1970)).
For a detailed description of the series published in the Bulletin see ILO: Sources and Methods: Labour Statistics, Vol. 1: "Consumer Price Indices", third edition (Geneva, ILO, 1992).
For the explanation of signs and symbols used in the tables, click here.