Harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP) (prc_hicp)

National Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: National Statistical Institute of Switzerland

Time Dimension: 2015-A0

Data Provider: CH1

Data Flow: HICP_ESMS_A

Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

National Statistical Institute of Switzerland

1.2. Contact organisation unit


1.5. Contact mail address

Swiss Federal Statistical Office

Espace de l'Europe 10

CH-2010 Neuchâtel


2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 07/05/2015
2.2. Metadata last posted 07/05/2015
2.3. Metadata last update 07/05/2015

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

Harmonised indices of consumer prices (HICPs) give comparable measures of inflation for the countries and country groups they are produced. They are economic indicators that measure the change over time of the prices of consumer goods and services acquired by households. In other words they are a set of consumer price indices (CPIs) calculated according to a harmonised approach and a single set of definitions.

3.2. Classification system

COICOP/HICP (Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose adapted to the needs of Harmonized Indices of Consumer Prices).

3.3. Coverage - sector

HICPs cover the whole household sector, more precisely the goods and services acquired by households.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

The published data include the following (for Switzerland):

1. Monthly data:

  • Indices (HICP 2005=100)
  • Annual rates of change
  • Monthly rates of change
  • 12-month average rate of change

2. Annual data:

  • Average index and rate of change
  • Country weights
  • Item weights
3.5. Statistical unit

Each published index or rate of change refers to the 'final monetary consumption expenditure' of the whole household sector of the corresponding geographical entity.

3.6. Statistical population

The target statistical universe is the 'household final monetary consumption expenditure' (HFMCE) within the economic territories of the countries compiling the HICP. The household sector to which the definition refers includes all individuals or groups of individuals irrespective of, in particular, the type of area in which they live, their position in the income distribution and their nationality or residence status. These definitions follow the national accounts concepts in the European System of Accounts (ESA 1995).

HICPs comprise all purchases by households within the territory of a country; those by both resident and non-resident households (i.e. 'domestic concept'). HICPs cover the prices paid for goods and services in monetary transactions. The prices measured are those actually faced by consumers. The HICPs exclude interest and credit charges, regarding them as financing costs rather than consumption expenditure.

3.7. Reference area

The HICP covers all regions of the economic territory.

Prices are collected in 11 regions covering the entire country. The bulk of price collection takes place in 5 big cities, 3 middle sized towns and 3 rural regions. Villages are covered for some specific prices.

3.8. Coverage - Time

HICPs with harmonised coverage and methodology have been published since March 1997. Interim indices based largely on existing national Consumer Price Indices (CPIs) are available back to January 1996; these are adjusted to reduce differences in coverage of goods and services observed between national CPIs.

3.9. Base period

The index reference period is 2005=100 for all sub-indices.

4. Unit of measure Top

Following units are used:

  • Index (actually unitless, i.e. it is the ratio of the price of the basket in a given year to the price in the base year multiplied by 100. However, the HICP can be thought of as the amount the average consumer would have to spend in a given year to buy the same basic goods and services that one would have to pay 100 monetary units for in the base period);
  • Percentage change on the same period of the previous year (rates);
  • Percentage change on the previous period (rates);
  • Percentage share of the total (weights).

5. Reference Period Top


6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

Harmonised Indices of Consumer Prices (HICPs) are harmonised inflation figures required under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Council Regulation (EC) No 2494/95 of 23 October 1995 (OJ L 257/1) sets the legal basis for establishing a harmonised methodology for the compilation of the HICPs, the MUICP and the EICP.

Under this Regulation, the Commission has brought forward detailed Regulations establishing the specific rules governing the production of harmonised indices. To date, 18 specific regulations governing issues as quality of weights, transmission and dissemination of sub-indices, coverage of goods and services, geographical and population coverage, minimum standards for the treatment of tariffs, insurance, health, education and social protection services, timing of entering prices, treatment of price reductions, treatment of service charges, revisions policy, new index reference period, temporal coverage of price collection and sampling, replacement and quality adjustment procedures, and seasonal items have been adopted. A recommendation on the treatment of health care has also been published.

All relevant regulations as well as further methodological details can be found in the HICP section on Eurostat's website under Methodology => Legislation.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing


7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 11 March 2009, on the transmission of data subject to statistical confidentiality to the Statistical Office of the European Communities.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

The Global HICP index level, the change in % compared to the preceding month, the change in % compared to the same month of the preceding year and the index level of the main headings are published on the FSO Internet site at the same time as the results of the Swiss national CPI.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

The CPI/HICP release calendar can be found under the following link:


8.2. Release calendar access

Eurostat's website.

8.3. Release policy - user access

The detailed HICP data are sent to Eurostat and to the Swiss National Bank. The detailed indexes can be downloaded from Eurostat HICP website when they are published. 

9. Frequency of dissemination Top

Harmonised consumer price indices are produced monthly.

10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

The Global HICP index level, the change in % compared to the preceding month, the Change in % compared to the same month of the preceding year are published every month on the CPI press release.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

The HICP is published on the website of the Federal Statistical Office:

English site: www.hicp.bfs.admin.ch

German site: www.hvpi.bfs.admin.ch

French site:www.ipch.bfs.admin.ch

The global result for the Swiss HICP is published in the press release concerning the CPI which is issued at the beginning of the month following the reference month. More detailed results for the Swiss HICP (global index, main headings, indices and evolutions) are published at the same time on the internet site.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

HICP database.

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

No micro-data base access concerning the HICP.

10.5. Dissemination format - other


10.6. Documentation on methodology

The methodological documentation is available on the FSO website.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

No information.

11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

Controls on the quality of the data

Checks against errors and mistakes in price information

Local and regional price collectors must check the price when they collect them. Controls concern plausibility and completeness of price collection as well as control of the item.

Prices are checked one more time when they are entered in the computer application. Prices delivered by the market survey institute are controlled by the institute as well as after delivery.

Once entered in the computer software, prices are plausibilised. Price movements that exceed a certain percentage are checked and controlled again. When needed, local price collectors are contacted again in order to confirm prices.

Finally, for calculation, aggregation is performed several times. Several control algorithms are performed on the data as a whole.

Checks against errors and mistakes in preliminary index results

Once the prices have been entered in the computer software, a statement of prices with movements that exceed a certain level is printed.

New checks against errors are conducted.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

Quality is assessed within monthly quality reviews at the FSO that cover price collections for CPI and HICP. Quality assessment is also conducted by Eurostat (compliance with the HICP regulations).

12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

The main users of the HICP in Switzerland is the Swiss National Bank, which receives the HICP data. The National Bank uses these data for internal analysis.

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

Specific surveys of user satisfaction have been conducted in 2005. Regular users' needs are also integrated within advisory boards for CPI-related projects.

12.3. Completeness

All COICOP indices at 4-digit level are produced.

13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

Same as Eurostat.

13.2. Sampling error

Same as Eurostat.

13.3. Non-sampling error

Same as Eurostat.

14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

The HICP main data are published monthly at the same time as the CPI, generally on the first 10 days of the month. The full set of the HICP data are published by Eurostat in the middle of the month.

14.2. Punctuality

Very high. The publication calendar is respected.

15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

The price collections are conducted in a comparable manner all over the national territory. High quality of the indicator for its main purpose, i.e. ensuring comparability of inflation at the international level.

15.2. Comparability - over time

HICP data are fully comparable over time. There have been several improvements in methodology since the HICP was introduced with the aim of improving its reliability and comparability. These changes may have introduced breaks in time series. However back calculations under the newer standards were performed when appropriate basic data was available.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

Differences between the HICP and national CPI

  • Differences in the geographic and population coverage:
    • The HICP is based on the domestic concept while the CPI is based on the national concept
    • The HICP covers the collective households, which are excluded from the CPI.

  • Prices for package holidays and passenger transport by air:
    • Prices for package holidays and passenger transport by air are entered in the HICP for the month in which the consumption of the service at the observed price can commence. They are entered in the CPI for the month in which they are observed (acquisition concept).

  •  Consumption expenditures included in the HICP, but excluded from the CPI:
    • Consumption expenditures of non resident households in Switzerland
    • Consumption expenditure of institutional households

  • Consumption expenditures excluded from the HICP, but included in the CPI:
    • Expenditure for owner-occupied housing
    • Consumption expenditures of domestic households abroad
15.4. Coherence - internal

HICPs are internal coherent. Higher level aggregations are derived from detailed indices according to well-defined procedures.

16. Cost and Burden Top

No information.

17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

HICP series, including back data, are revisable under the terms set in Commission Regulation (EC) No 1921/2001 of 28 September 2001. The published HICP data may be revised for mistakes, new or improved information, and changes in the system of harmonised rules.

17.2. Data revision - practice

Revisions of HICP consist on renewing the weights (annually in December).

The total revision of the CPI has been scheduled for 31.12.2015. This will have an effect on the HICP in the structure of the standard basket, choice of products and the methods of quality adjustment. In addition, the new regulation on seasonal products is being applied to the HICP since 2012 (with 2011 backdata).

18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

Sample size (reference year for the CPI: December 2010=100)

Nr. of price observations for every periodicity (February 2011 data):  48 270

01 Food and non-alcoholic beverages: 12 071

02 Alcoholic beverages, tobacco: 1 716

03 Clothing and footwear: 3 591

04 Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels: 4 588 (plus 10 000 quarterly rent prices)

05 Furnishings, household equip. and routine maintenance of the house: 3 824

06 Health: 879 (plus medicaments' index)

07 Transport: 4 565 (plus public transport index)

08 Communications: 163 (plus telecommunications index)

09 Recreation and culture: 7 365 (plus books index: ~15 000 price observations)

10 Education: 592

11 Restaurants and hotels: 4 359

12 Miscellaneous goods and services: 4 553

Most prices are collected both centrally and by a market research institute.

Goods and services collected only centrally


2.2 Tobaccos

4 Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels

6 Health

7.1 Purchase of vehicles

7.2.2 Fuels and other lubrificants for personal transport

7.3 Transport services

8 Communications

9.1 Audiovisual, photographic and information processing equipment

9.2 Other major durables for recreation and culture

9.5 Newspapers, books and stationery

9.6 Package holidays

10 Education

11.1.2 Canteens

11.2 Accommodations services

12.4 Social protection

12.5 Insurance

12.6 Financial services

12.7 Other services

The following tariffs are measured:

  • Electricity, Gas
  • Medical services
  • Hospital services
  • Transport services
  • Telephone, telegraph and telefax services
  • Insurance

There are two levels of classification below COICOP four digit level.

Number of representative products at lowest classification level (reference CPI: December 2010=100):

All items: 1 009

01 Food and non-alcoholic beverages: 286

02 Alcoholic beverages, tobacco: 42

03 Clothing and footwear: 123

04 Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels: 49

05 Furnishings, household equip. and routine maintenance of the house: 135

06 Health: 27

07 Transport : 64

08 Communications: 13

09 Recreation and culture: 124

10 Education: 13

11 Restaurants and hotels: 60

12 Miscellaneous goods and services: 73

18.2. Frequency of data collection

Timing of price observation

Prices are collected during the first two weeks of each month.

Prices of petrol and fuels are collected twice a month.

Prices collected by scanner data are observed during the first two weeks of the month.

COICOP / Group of product / Period

04.5.3 Liquid fuels: First and tenth working days of each month.

07.2.2 Fuels and lubricants: First and tenth working days of each month.

18.3. Data collection

Outlet selection

About 2700 outlets in the country are chosen for the survey.

The outlet sample is updated on occasion of the main index reviews. However, outlets may be replaced whenever they close or when they are not representative any more.

Outlets of the main distributions channels, which are the most important and the most representative, are automatically selected by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO). Information from market research is used to determine the main outlet channels. Regional outlets are chosen by regional price collectors under the supervision of the FSO. Outlets within city centers and outside city borders are both integrated into the sample. Internet shopping is integrated into the sample for flight tariffs and package holidays. Mail order services cover household utensils.

Techniques of product selection and specification

The choice of products in the outlets is realized by the price collectors based on the specifications provided for the products and services (purposive). Products must be selling well and be continuously available.

Representative goods and services are selected by price collectors based on instructions (product or service description). Indications by store managers and store assistants are taken into account.

Product specifications include quality descriptions, physical attributes, material, technical functionalities. Product or service descriptions cover the whole classification position. However, one product specification includes only one product intended to satisfy comparable consumer needs.

The specifications of individual goods and services are rather tight and aim to keep size, quantity, brand, label, materials and other characteristics constant; this is particularly true for product groups and services where consumer needs are very differentiated (clothing, telecommunication services).

Prices of goods and services that are specific of the regions are collected by locally recruited price collectors. Rents are collected centrally with a rotating sample. Medicaments' and new cars' prices are collected using branch specific databases. Package holidays and Passenger transport by air: partial internet collection.

18.4. Data validation

Data validation is done by FSO; additional quality checks are carried out by Eurostat.

18.5. Data compilation


There are 215 item weights at national level at the lowest level of aggregation.

The source for the weights for consumption of residents in Switzerland at all levels is the Household Budget Survey. For consumption expenditure by non residents, the Tourism Balance produced by National Accounts is used at the highest level, while the Household Budget Survey and other sources are used on the lowest level. Collective households’ consumption expenditure is weighted by Health Statistics and Household Budget Survey at all levels.

Weights are updated every year, as well the time period for current weights.

The regulation on weights is applied to the CPI since 2000 in Switzerland, so it has been applied to the HICP since the beginning of its production.

Computation of lowest-level indices

At the lowest level of aggregation, the ratio of geometric means prices is used for all positions.

Treatment of missing items and replacements

Missing goods and services

When a good or a service is missing or no longer selling well, it must be replaced. Usually, product descriptions allow for immediate replacement. In this case, the quality differences between the product to be replaced and the replacing product are estimated. Therefore, we need to know the qualitative attributes. This information is collected by price collectors in collaboration with shop assistants. Note that the replacing product is chosen by price collectors, but controlled by the central staff.

To take the quality adjustment into consideration, four approaches are used:

  • The replacing product has the same qualitative attributes than the replaced product: In that case, the new product is introduced without interrupting the prices series. The price difference is considered as a price difference only (direct substitution).
  • When such a product can't be found, a near substitute is used to replace the missing product.

Both products should have been available on the market in the previous period and the price of the replacing product during the previous period must be known. The price difference between the two products in the previous period is considered as a quality difference (overlapping).

  • When a product with the same qualitative attributes can't be found, a replacement can be used whose quality difference is to be evaluated by an expert. The price is accordingly adjusted. However, this method is only used on special and very limited occasions.
  • When a product can't be replaced (no comparable substitute) and when a quality adjustment can't be made, a new product is selected. This new product will enter the index with a new price series.

Missing prices

  • Price observations are rarely missing except for seasonal goods and services. When the product is missing because it is sold out, the product price may be reconducted during one or two periods.
  • When the product is missing because it is a seasonal one, the price imputed is the last price collected during the in-season period.

Introduction of newly significant goods and services

The main source to identify newly significant goods and services is the Household Budget Survey as well as the acquisition of market research results in different areas on a yearly basis. Moreover, availability and turnover are used to determine if new goods and services need to be introduced.

In principle, new products for HICP are introduced annually in the December link.

Treatment of price reductions

Sales prices are included in the HICP if they are non-discriminatory and apply to an individual good or service. They are included in the HICP if they influence significantly the volume of goods sold.

Reduced prices are recorded systematically. Between 2.6 and 4.6% of recorded prices are reduced.

Discounts on damaged, shop soiled or defective goods and purchases for the purpose of sales are disregarded.

Treatment of seasonal items

The seasonal items regulation (330/2009) is applied since January 2012 with the 2011 data revised. It concerns vegetables and fruits, clothing and footwear.

18.6. Adjustment

Adjustment for quality differences

Quality adjustment is monitored with a code system that allows for control of eventual quality changes when replacements take place. Standard method is the Direct Price Comparison Method, Overlap Pricing is used much less frequently. Bridged Overlap is used for clothing and technological products. Explicit methods are used for PCs and new cars.

19. Comment Top


Related metadata Top

Annexes Top