26 September 2023

Consumer statistics to be unloaded monthly

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The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is set to introduce a new monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) to provide a more timely measure of household inflation.

The service has been quarterly up to now.

Releasing an information paper on the new measure, Australian Statistician, David Gruen said the quarterly CPI would continue to be Australia’s key measure of inflation, with the monthly indicator intended to complement it and provide more frequently insights into household inflations.

“A monthly CPI indicator will bring Australia into line with the frequency of inflation data for comparable countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan and European Union countries,” Dr Gruen said.

“An important feature of the monthly CPI indicator is that while it will represent all goods and services in the CPI basket, only around two-thirds of items in the CPI basket will have up-to-date prices each month,” he said.

“Items where prices typically change more frequently and will have up-to-date prices each month include food, alcohol, tobacco, clothing, rents, petrol and holiday travel.”

Dr Gruen said the focus of the ABS was on making the monthly CPI indicator available in a manner that was fit for purpose and useful for decision making.

“Over time and where possible, the ABS intends to expand the coverage of what is measured on a monthly basis, starting with the addition of monthly rents data in the official commencement of the publication in October,” the Statistician said.

He said the ABS’s new information paper explained the methodology underpinning the monthly CPI indicator, featured research findings, and presented monthly data from 2018 to June 2022.

Dr Gruen said the ABS would commence publication of the official monthly CPI indicator series on 26 October alongside, and in addition to, the quarterly CPI.

The ABS’s information paper on the new service can be accessed at this PS News link.

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