Methodology

HICP Methodological Manual

 The  Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) Methodological Manual represents a comprehensive overview of methods that are used in the compilation process for the HICP. The HICP provides the official measure of consumer price inflation in the euro area and the EU. The manual intends to be a practical guide to all steps necessary to produce an HICP and is thus useful for statisticians who are new to the field of price statistics and statistical offices aiming to set up a similar inflation measure. Users of the HICP, such as businesses, policy-makers and researchers may also find this manual useful to help them understand and interpret HICP data. Subjects covered include the HICP concepts, sampling and price collection procedures, methods for quality adjustment, index calculation and many other.

Table of contents
 

Reference metadata

The HICP reference metadata gathers, under a standard structure, references and summary information regarding data quality and the production process in general.

With a view to making European statistics more accessible and clear, the National Statistical Offices producing HICP data are also documenting their national practices under the same structure.

Links to the Eurostat metadata and national metadata are listed below:

National HICP reference metadata:

Member States

Candidate countries

Other countries

 

Queries on Eurostat's metadata can be sent to estat-hicp@ec.europa.eu.

For queries on national metadata, the concerned NSI should be contacted directly.

Reference year 2015=100

Since the release of January 2016 data on 25 February 2016, the HICP and HICP-CT index series are published in reference year 2015=100.

From the release of March 2016 data on 14 April 2016, Eurostat is providing the complete HICP index series also in reference years 2005=100 and 1996=100. These data are included in the HICP table prc_hicp_midx. The reference year 2015, 2005 or 1996 can be selected in the 'Unit' tab. The index reference year 2015 is set as the default.

See  here for more information.

Summary table on revisions.

Euro area

Flash estimate

Eurostat publishes an estimate of the euro area inflation each month on the last working day of the month, or shortly after it ( release schedule).

Annual rates of change, monthly rates of change and indices are published for the following aggregates:

  • All-items HICP
  • All-items excluding:
    • energy
    • energy and unprocessed food
    • energy, food, alcohol and tobacco
  • Food, alcohol and tobacco
    • Processed food, alcohol and tobacco
    • Unproccessed food
  • Energy
  • Non-energy industrial goods
  • Services

No estimates by country or for other components than those listed above are made available in the flash estimate. HICP data at the country level and for the full series are made available with the release that takes place approximately two weeks after the end of the reference month.

Each publication is accompanied by a news release.

For further information on the estimates and its methodology, please consult the Statistics Explained pages:

Euro changeover

Euro changeover effect (see Annex):

Recommendations

HICP recommendations describe recommended good practice for the compilation of the harmonised indices of consumer prices.

They go beyond regulatory requirements and, as a consequence, are not legally binding.

The recommendations have, however, a prominent status given that they were officially endorsed by the Directors of Macro-Economic Statistics in the European Statistical System (ESS).

Compliance monitoring

Eurostat monitors that the statistical practices used to compile national HICPs are compliant with HICP legal requirements, and that good practices in the field of consumer price indices are being followed.

Information Notes concerning individual national HICP:

 Member States   Reports  

Follow-up

  Belgium 2010 2014   2018
  Bulgaria 2007 2015   2018
  Czechia 2009      
  Denmark 2010      
  Germany 2009 2010 2015 2018
  Estonia 2010      
  Ireland 2010 2017    
  Greece 2013      
  Spain 2010      
  France 2009 2015   2018
  Croatia 2015     2018
  Italy 2007 2014   2018
  Cyprus 2006      
  Latvia 2007 2013    
  Lithuania 2006 2013    
  Luxembourg 2012      
  Hungary 2009      
  Malta 2006 2007    
  Netherlands 2012      
  Austria        
  Poland 2008 2016    
  Portugal 2010      
  Romania 2007      
  Slovenia 2006 2016   2019
  Slovakia 2008 2018    
  Finland 2012      
  Sweden 2013      
  United Kingdom 2009 2015   2018

 

HICP at constant tax rates

The Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices at constant tax rates (HICP-CT) is a series of inflation indices that starts for most countries in 2002. The data provision is compulsory for every Member State since January 2013, following the adoption of the Regulation (EC) No 119/2013.

The HICP-CT follows the same computation principles as the HICP, but is based on prices at constant tax rates. The comparison with the standard HICP can show the potential impact of changes in indirect taxes (e.g. VAT and excise duties) on the overall inflation.

The HICP-CT is an important tool for analysing the causes of inflation and for forecasting the impact of future tax changes on inflation. It has to be emphasised that they do not provide an exact measure of the impact, rather an indication for the upper limit of the impact.

In effect, the difference between HICP and HICP-CT growth rates points to the theoretical impact of tax changes on overall HICP inflation, assuming an instantaneous pass-through of tax rate changes on the price paid by the consumer.

Also HICP-CT have to follow common standards which are summarised in the reference methodology:

More detailed information can be found in:

HICP - administered prices

The 'Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices – Administered Prices' (HICP-AP) are analytical indices that provide a summary of the development of product prices that are directly set or influenced to a significant extent by the government.

The HICP-AP is used as a tool for analysing the causes of inflation and for forecasting inflation. It should be emphasised that these indices provide only an approximate measure of the government influence to the price developments as the calculation of the HICP-AP is made at rather coarse level of the classification, and thus each category may include some products whose prices are administered and some that are non-administered.

As a rule, the HICP sub-indices are classified as administered when more than 50% of the weight of that category comes from the expenditure on products whose prices are administered.

The following indices for all EU Member States, the euro area and the EU are published by Eurostat:

  • AP indices: administered prices total; fully administered prices; mainly administered prices; and administered energy prices.
  • AP exclusion indices (that show aggregate price developments of all products whose prices are freely set in markets): all-items excluding administered prices; all-items excluding fully administered prices; all-items excluding mainly administered prices; and administered prices excluding energy.

These data, indices as well as rates of change, are available on Eurostat's online database. Moreover, which sub-indices are classified as mainly or fully administered by each Member State are given in the table 'HICP - administered prices (composition)'. The HICP-AP was first released by Eurostat in February 2010.

For some Member States, HICP-AP figures may significantly differ from existing similar national measures, e.g. CPI-APs. The main reason are differences in coverage.


More detailed information can be found in:

Detailed Average Prices

The detailed average prices (DAP) supplemented existing consumer price statistics by providing price level data of up to 190 well-defined consumer goods and services. DAP have been used to monitor Single Market policies, to analyse price convergence, and to help understand how markets work. DAP results were analysed in the Consumer Markets Scoreboard published by Commission Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers (DG JUST).

DAP presented indicative prices for specific groups of products as an additional set of price data. With their focus on absolute prices  DAP complemented  the measurement of inflation (HICP) and international price level comparisons based on purchasing power parities (PPPs).

The 2015 data collection was the eighth and final exercise. The DAP project has been discontinued given some limitations of the comparability of the results, the existence of other data alternatives for DG JUST and the slow decrease of the number of countries taking part in the project.

The research documents below include data as well as a technical introduction of the project and its limitations.

Consumer prices research (2015 prices)

Detailed average prices are also published in Eurobase:

Further methodological information can be found in the metadata page of the datasets and in the Statistics Explained detailed average prices article.

Previous publications:

Food price monitoring tool

Following the European Commission Communication on 'A better functioning food supply chain in Europe' the Food Price Monitoring Tool was created in an attempt to increase the transparency along the food supply chain.

For more information, please see the 'Food price monitoring tool' page in the section on experimental statistics.