Harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP) (prc_hicp)

National Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Statistics Netherlands (CBS)

Time Dimension: 2017-A0

Data Provider: NL1

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

Statistics Netherlands (CBS)

1.2. Contact organisation unit

Government finance and consumer prices statistics department.

1.5. Contact mail address


Henri Faasdreef 312    PO Box 24500
2492 JP The Hague     2490 HA The Hague
The Netherlands

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 23/03/2017
2.2. Metadata last posted 23/03/2017
2.3. Metadata last update 23/03/2017

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

Harmonised Indices of Consumer Prices (HICP)  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

ECOICOP - European Classification of Individual Consumption according to Purpose.

3.3. Coverage - sector

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

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

The published is as follows:

1. Monthly data:

  • Indices(HICP 2015=100, HICP 2005=100, HICP 1996=100, HICP at constant taxes 2015=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 2010).
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 the entire economic territory of the country. The Dutch Antilles and the small part of the Netherlands known as the ‘Belgian enclave’ are not covered. The islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba are special municipalities of the Netherlands. For these islands separate CPI’s are calculated as of 2011. These are not included in the HICP.
Municipalities where there are no towns with more than 10 000 inhabitants are excluded. In municipalities with towns between 10 000 and 200 000 inhabitants, a sample of the towns is taken. All towns and cities with more than 200 000 inhabitants are included in the index. Areas outside towns are not covered.
Also scanner data is used and these data include all municipalities.

3.8. Coverage - Time

HICPs for the Netherlands are available from 1996 (earlier figures are estimates based on the national CPI).

3.9. Base period

For HICP the index reference period was 2005 = 100 until December 2015. From January 2016 onward, the index reference period is 2015=100.
Starting from January 2007 the weight reference period is 2006. Weights are updated every year.
Where scanner data are used (for products typically bought in supermarkets), the EAN code indexes are weighted together according to the Laspeyres formula with weights from the previous year. Unit values are used for outlets in the same chain.

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

Statistics Netherlands sends preliminary data to Eurostat for the HICP Flash estimate in each month of the year. These data have not been published yet at the moment of sending. Apart from that there is no advance 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

HICP outcomes are published on an aggregated level only. All information furnished by data suppliers is treated confidentially. No data from individual data suppliers can be deduced from published data or press releases.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

Statistics Netherlands provides a schedule of CPI release dates well in advance (https://www.cbs.nl/en-gb/publication-calendar). In addition a weekly agenda, announcing press releases, is placed on the CBS website every Friday.

8.2. Release calendar access

Eurostat's website.

8.3. Release policy - user access

The release of HICP data is always accompanied by a press release. At the same time the detailed price index data are released on the publication database (StatLine). The press release and detailed information are made public to all users at the same time. Press releases are announced well in advance via e.g. the release calendar.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top

Harmonised consumer price indices are produced monthly.

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

The CPI/HICP press release is published on a monthly basis. The press releases start with a short analysis of current outcomes and developments. The Dutch version contains links to tables with time series for the overall CPI series, outcomes on a disaggregated level and international HICP figures. The releases also contain data on the contributions and impact of disaggregated levels to the overall HICP. Apart from the press release the results are also published in the statistical bulletin, a weekly CBS publication.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

The Dutch HICP data are published within eleven days after the reference month.
The HICP data are published together with the CPI data every month in a press release which also contains explanatory notes.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Detailed HICP time series are available on the HICP database as well as on StatLine.

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Micro data are in principle not available for general public. However anonimised micro data can be accessed by third parties on request by using remote access.

10.5. Dissemination format - other


10.6. Documentation on methodology

The Dutch methodological notes on the HICP are published at www.cbs.nl.

10.7. Quality management - documentation


11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

Controls on the quality of the data
Prices are entered into the system by the price collectors. Prices lower than 85% and higher than 850% of the average per item are rejected automatically. Centrally collected prices are checked in a similar manner.
Preliminary indices are checked top-down, trying to identify the most important changes in the index.
This check covers both locally and centrally collected prices.

11.2. Quality management - assessment


12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

The HICP/CPI figures are mostly used for:

  • Wage indexations (by e.g. private companies),
  • Pension indexations (pension funds),
  • Rent indexations (landlords),
  • Inflation monitoring (Central bank),
  • Research (planning agencies and universities).
12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

The most important users of HICP data are represented in the so called Macroeconomic Advisory Board (Adviesraad Macro economische statistieken). This board meets on a yearly basis to give their views on HICP related topics.

12.3. Completeness

All COICOP indices at 5-digit level are disseminated.

13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

The accuracy and representativeness of the CPI/HICP is guaranteed by observing prices of a great number of prices of diverse products. The accuracy cannot be quantified however. Accuracy on the overall HICP level is higher than on a disaggregated level. The response to the enquiries exceeds 95%. The main sources of error in the HICP are:

  • Errors in the sample of data suppliers,
  • Errors in the choice of articles in the sample and the estimate of quality adjustment in case of replacements,
  • Errors during price collection,
  • Errors in determining the HICP weights,
  • Non response.
13.2. Sampling error

See above.

13.3. Non-sampling error

See above.

14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

The CPI/HICP is released in a timely manner, usually on the first or second Thursday following the end of the reference month.

14.2. Punctuality

In recent years the CPI/HICP press release has always been punctual. The last exception was in 2003 when an error was discovered in the scanner data compilation.

15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

The Netherlands is one region; therefore there are no problems of geographical comparability.

15.2. Comparability - over time

HICP data are fully comparable over time. There have been several improvements in methodology since HICP was introduced with the aim of improving reliability and comparability of the HICP. These changes may have introduced breaks in time series. However back calculations under the newer standards were performed when appropriate basic data was available. In January 2011 there is a break in the series due to new methods to compile price indices for package holidays and airline tickets.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

Differences between CPI and HICP

CPI and HICP are different in certain aspects. This section will in short summarize the differences. They can be subdivided into four themes:

− Target population; which consumers and which transactions are included in the index,

− Coverage; which consumption expenditures are included,

− Price definition; how are some prices defined,

− Classification.

Target population

This theme covers two subjects:

− The CPI uses a national concept, whereas the HICP uses a domestic concept,

− Consumption by institutional households.

The national concept of the CPI implies that all expenditures of consumers living in the Netherlands are included, regardless of whether these expenditures are in the Netherlands or abroad.

The domestic concept of the HICP implies that expenditures abroad of consumers living in the Netherlands are excluded from the HICP, but that expenditures of foreign visitors on Dutch territory are included.

Expenditures by people living in institutional households are included in the HICP. In the 2006=100 series these expenditures were excluded from the CPI. Starting from the 2015=100 series expenditures by people living in institutional households are included excluding the own contributions that these people pay for living in the institution.


Three groups of goods and services are included in the CPI but excluded from the HICP:

− Imputed rentals for housing,

− Contributions,

− Consumption related taxes.

For households renting a house, the rents payments are included in CPI and HICP. For households living in a house of their own imputed rentals for housing is included in the CPI and the developments of imputed rentals contribute to the CPI results. Owner occupied housing expenditures are excluded from the HICP.

The HICP does not consider subscriptions or contributions for recreational and sports clubs, labour unions and other NPISHs to be consumption expenditures but to be transfers. Also taxes are out of the scope of the HICP. Government services are included. On the other hand, own contributions paid for living in an institutional household are included in the HICP, but excluded from the CPI.

Price definition

For some product categories price definitions in HICP and CPI differ. There are differences in the treatment of parents’ contributions for child care. In the CPI the gross price for child care is observed. As a consequence the weight for child care is high. In the HICP only the parents’ own contributions are included. Contributions that the Government pays to the parents are deducted from the gross price. Therefore also the weights for child care are lower. Finally changes in own contributions for health care that is covered in the base health insurance are treated differently. If a certain element of health care is taken out of the coverage of the base policy and the consumer has to pay for that care himself, this is reflected in the CPI only by an increase of the weight for health care. Likewise a change whereby previously uninsured health care is taken up in the base policy also does not lead to a decrease of the CPI.

In the HICP changes in the basic insurance policy are treated as price changes. A change whereby insured health care from a certain point in time is no longer covered by basic health insurance and for which the consumer must pay an own contribution is treated as a price increase from zero to the new own contribution or market price. Alternatively a change whereby a part of health care that was not insured is brought under the coverage of the basic health insurance is treated in the HICP as a price decrease from the existing price or own contribution to zero.


Differences in classification all have to do with product groups that are out of the scope of one of the two series.

 Included in the CPI, but not included in the HICP are:

− COICOP 042100 Imputed rentals for housing,

− COICOP 094130 Membership sports and recreation clubs,

− COICOP 130000 Consumption related taxes,

− COICOP 140000 Consumption abroad.

Included in the HICP, but not in the CPI are:

− COICOP 124020 Retirement homes for elderly persons and residences for disabled persons.

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

The HICP is derived from the Dutch CPI and therefore there are hardly any costs or burden on respondents. The only costs are due to the monitoring of tax tariffs.

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

Index numbers may be revised in the case of errors or when improved information leads to a significant change. A base-year revision does not lead to the backward revision of results.

18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

Sample size (reference year 2017)

The prices of about 30 058consumer goods and services on average per month are surveyed in about 6 500 outlets.

Number of price observations per month (January 2017): 38.049 observations + 11.049.666 scanner data observations

01 Food and non-alcoholic beverages 2.179 + scanner data 44 .490
02 Alcoholic beverages, tobacco 191 + scanner data 2.808
03 Clothing and footwear 6.335 + internet robot data 44.433
04 Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels 1. 215 + register / scanner data 398.542
05 Furnishings, household equip. and routine maintenance of the house 7.067+ scanner data 4.586
06 Health 872 + scanner data 1.039
07 Transport 1.049 + scanner data 520.000
08 Communications 131 + scanner data 166
09 Recreation and culture 9.927 + scanner data 27.871
10 Education 16
11 Restaurants and hotels 1.780
12 Miscellaneous goods and services 7.287 + scanner data 5.731

Note that some price observations represent the average of a number of prices, computed outside the computation system, e.g. used cars.

Number of representative items at the lowest classification level (reference year 2017)

01 Food and non-alcoholic beverages 37 + scanner data 44.490
02 Alcoholic beverages, tobacco 25 + scannerdata 2.808
03 Clothing and footwear 98 + internet robot data 44.433
04 Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels 89 + register / scanner data 398.542
05 Furnishings, household equip. and routine maintenance of the house 150 + scanner data 4.586
06 Health 32 + scanner data 1.039
07 Transport 130 + scanner data 520 000
08 Communications 30 + scanner data 166
09 Recreation and culture 175 + scanner data 27.871
10 Education 7
11 Restaurants and hotels 75
12 Miscellaneous goods and services 93 + scanner data 5.731

Total: 941 representative items and 1.049.666 representative scanner data items

18.2. Frequency of data collection

Timing of price observation
Prices are collected mainly locally. However local price collection is being replaced by other types of data collection on an increasing scale. The main examples are scanner data, register data and internet robot data. Scanner data now covers 100% of the super market price collection. Furthermore some prices are collected by telephone, internet and surveys on paper.
The prices are collected during the first three full weeks of the reference month. Fuel prices are collected daily. In some cases, when prices are known to change only once or a few times per year, price collection is done accordingly.
Scanner data are currently used from eleven supermarket chains and the prices for the first three full weeks enter into the computations. These prices do not represent a fixed basket but a dynamic panel of price observations, partly based on the volume sold.
Housing rents are collected only in July in a designated rents survey. Also register and administrative data is used from landlords.

18.3. Data collection

Outlet selection
About 6 500 outlets in the country are chosen for the survey. There are currently 153 different outlet types.
The outlet selection is decided upon centrally. Price collectors may suggest new outlets.
Mail order purchases are not included in the sample. Their market share is 3/1000 of household final monetary consumption expenditure (HFMCE), primarily for clothing, DVDs and CDs. Internet shopping and market stalls are included.

Techniques of product selection and specification
All item descriptions for local price collection are specified centrally by CBS, based on information from producers, commodity boards, scanner data and market research, with the aim of maintaining a good representation of products currently on the market.
In most cases these items are tightly specified, but there are many items in order to ensure good representation of the product group as a whole.
In some cases, the price collector may choose between a small variation on predefined items in an outlet (where the CBS has determined these to be equivalent). For clothing, however, a different approach is taken: very loose descriptions are used and the price collector is instructed to choose the most representative items.

18.4. Data validation

The data are checked for internal consistency and completeness. When necessary, action is taken to verify the data. If the data are correct, the price indices are calculated and the results are verified and validated. Validation is done by other employees.

18.5. Data compilation

The main source for the HICP weights is the National Accounts for all upper level and most lower level COICOP groups. Additional information at a more detailed level is taken from the Household Budget Survey which is carried out once in 5 year and some additional market information.
Outlet type weights are based on market information from various sources, and from the Household Budget Survey. There are around 1 055 item weights at national level. There are around 3 640 weights for items outlet combinations.
The reference period for current weights is the year 2016.

Computation of the lowest-level indices
The CBS uses the ratio of arithmetic means for nearly all standard product calculations and geometric means for some scanner data. Indice computation with internet robot data is done with average prices. Used cars is an exception, for which the aggregate price series is supplied by an outside body (Törnqvist index).

Treatment of missing items and replacements
Missing prices are normally replaced within 2 to 3 months.
A product offer is missing if no observation meeting the specification is made in an outlet (even if the product is likely to return and there is a price label indicating a price).
Missing prices are imputed using the price development for other product offers of the same item/elementary aggregate (bridged overlap).
If a product offer disappears from the market permanently, it is replaced by an essentially equivalent product offer. It is normally replaced before it disappears completely, based on indications that the number of observed prices is decreasing.
If an item disappears from an outlet permanently without losing market importance in general, the outlet is replaced.

Introduction of newly significant goods and services
Genuinely new products (example: DVD players, coffee pads) are brought into the index each year, when they become significant in their market segment, usually but not always in connection with the base year revision. A new model, for example a car, is introduced as a new representative item in the course of the year if it replaces an old outgoing model.

Treatment of price reductions
Price reductions are always taken into consideration if they are available to all consumers without conditions.

Treatment of seasonal items
Seasonal items are treated by giving seasonal weights according to Commission Regulation 330/2009.
Item weights are zero in out-of-season periods. When an item comes into season again, the new prices are compared to the prices last observed for the previous season to compute the item index. Aggregate weights are constant through the year for all 4-digit COICOP groups.

18.6. Adjustment

Adjustment for quality differences
The following quality adjustment methods are used:

Direct comparison (when there is judged to be no difference in quality between the old and new items),

Quantity adjustment (proportional, when the only difference is in the quantity included (package size), usually a small difference),

Overall mean imputation (= bridged overlap, when the quality difference cannot be estimated),

Expert judgment (where a well-justified opinion can be obtained from a seller or outside expert),

Option pricing (50% of the most recent price of the option bought separately – mostly used for new cars),

Overlap (occasionally, and less than in previous years; this method is intended to be restricted to goods in the same phase of their life cycle).

19. Comment Top


Related metadata Top

Annexes Top