Methodology - Harmonised Indices of Consumer Prices (HICP)

Methodology

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COVID-19 and HICP

The COVID-19 outbreak in Europe has led governments to impose several measures, such as restrictions in the movement of people and the closure of outlets, which have a direct or indirect impact on household consumption and thus consumer price indices.

Eurostat is monitoring the situation in close contact with the National Statistical Institutes (NSIs). Both Eurostat and NSIs are committed to continue the dissemination of HICP data to the best of their abilities.

Guidance notes

Guidance note for NSIs on the replacement and imputation techniques to be used for a harmonised
approach across EU Member States. Released: 03/04/2020 (EN only).

Consumer Price Index: Business Continuity Guidance, note prepared by the Intersecretariat Working
Group on Price Statistics (composed of Eurostat, ILO, IMF, OECD, UNECE and World Bank).

Guidance note on HICP issues emerging from the lifting of lockdown measures. Released: 09/07/2020 (EN only)

Guidance on the compilation of HICP weights in case of large changes in consumer expenditures. Released: 03/12/2020 (EN only)

Information on imputations made related to Covid-19

The file below includes:

  • Estimates of the share of consumption expenditure that is imputed in the HICP due to the COVID-19 crisis (April-July 2020 and November 2020-May 2021)
  • List of HICP sub-indices that have been flagged as 'low reliability' ('u' flag) due to the COVID-19 crisis for the euro area (EA) and European Union (EU) (April 2020-May 2021)
  • List of HICP sub-indices that have been flagged as 'low reliability' ('u' flag) due to the COVID-19 crisis for individual countries (April 2020-May 2021)

​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​ Overview information  ​​​(released 17/06/2021)

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

Third countries

EFTA countries

[IS]
Iceland

 

Candidate countries

Other countries

[UK]
United Kingdom
[IS]
United States of America

 

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

For queries on national metadata, the concerned NSI should be contacted through the User support.

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.

More information:

New HICP reference year 2015 = 100.

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.

Further information on the estimates and its methodology can be found in the statistics explained page:

Euro changeover

Euro changeover effect (see Annexes of the following News Releases):

Recommendations and guidelines

HICP recommendations and guidelines establish good practices 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).

Recommendations

 

Guidelines

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 released  

Follow-up

  Belgium 2010 2014   2018
  Bulgaria 2007 2015   2018
  Czechia 2009  2020    
  Denmark 2010      
  Germany 2009 2010 2015 2018
  Estonia 2006 2010 2020  
  Ireland 2010 2017   2020
  Greece 2013      
  Spain 2010 2020    
  France 2009 2015   2018
  Croatia 2015     2018
  Italy 2007 2014   2018
  Cyprus 2006 2020    
  Latvia 2007 2013    
  Lithuania 2006 2013    
  Luxembourg 2012 2021    
  Hungary 2009 2020    
  Malta 2006 2007 2019  
  Netherlands 2012      
  Austria 2019      
  Poland 2008 2016   2018
  Portugal 2010 2019    
  Romania 2007 2020    
  Slovenia 2006 2016   2019
  Slovakia 2008 2018   2021
  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.

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 fact, 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.

HICP-CT also 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:

Food price monitoring tool

The Food Price Monitoring Tool aims to increase the transparency along the food supply chain.

It brings together available data on price developments in the different steps of the supply chain. At present, 26 supply chains are covered. For each, the following price indices are used to show developments at successive stages of the chain:

  • Agricultural sector
  • Food industry
  • Retail
  • Imports

Dataset:

Food price monitoring tool (indices and annual rates of change)

Further methodological information can be found in the metadata of the dataset.

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.

Detailed average prices are also published in Eurobase:

Further methodological information can be found in the metadata page of the datasets.

Previous publications: