Overview - Harmonised Indices of Consumer Prices (HICP)

Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) — Overview

Introduction

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What information can I find here?

The Harmonised Indices of Consumer Prices (HICP) measure the changes over time in the prices of consumer goods and services acquired by households. They give a comparable measure of inflation as they are calculated according to harmonised definitions. Data is available on a monthly and annual basis, broken down by detailed consumption categories.

Monthly data available in the database is expressed as:

  • Index
  • Annual rate of change
  • Monthly rate of change
  • 12-month average rate of change

Annual data available in the database is expressed as:

  • Average index
  • Rate of change

In addition, country weights and item weights are available.

For more information, please see 'Information on data' or our 'Frequently asked questions' on HICP.

When is new monthly data published?

Monthly HICP data are published twice a month. A flash estimate for the euro area is published at the end of the month followed by the full series of indices for Member States and at European level, including HICP at constant taxes, approximately two weeks later (see release schedule).

What is this data used for and why is it important?

The HICP was set up to provide a high-quality measure of consumer price inflation, comparable across countries. It is used:

  • by the European System of Central Banks in order to measure the achievement of the price stability objective under Article 127(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which is of particular relevance for the definition and implementation of the monetary policy. The European Central Bank defined 'price stability' as a year-on-year increase in the HICP for the euro area of below 2%. In the pursuit of price stability, the European Central Bank aims at maintaining inflation rates below, but close to, 2% over the medium term;
  • to assess price convergence with a view to a country's joining the monetary union;
  • in the context of the Commission's macroeconomic imbalance procedure as established by Regulation (EU) No 1176/20111 and for public policy in the EU.

In addition to these specific EU purposes, it may be used, like other consumer price indices, for economic analysis as well as for indexing commercial contracts, wages, social protection benefits or financial instruments.

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