Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP)

Harmonised index of consumer prices - February 2019

Consumer prices
Harmonised index of consumer prices - February 2019
  • Belgium's inflation rate based on the European harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP) was running at 2.0 % in February compared to 1.8 % in January. Core inflation (inflation without energy and unprocessed food) stood at 1.6 % in February, and has remained unchanged since July 2018.
  • The inflation rate based on the consumer price index (CPI) for February stood at 2.2 % compared to 2.0 % in January. The difference in inflation between the HICP and the CPI is largely due to the larger weight of fuels and energy sources in the HICP and to the fact that no moving average is used for domestic heating oil in the HICP.
  • The sub-indices with the largest upward effect on inflation were electricity, travels abroad, tobacco, domestic heating oil, motor fuels and gas.
  • Most of the downward pressure on inflation came from accommodation, clothing and fruit.
  • The harmonised index of consumer prices of February for the EU Member States will be published by Eurostat on 15th March.

hicp2019-02a_en.png

Inflation based on the European harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP)[i] was running at 2.0 % in February compared to 1.8 % in January. Inflation based on the harmonised index of consumer prices at constant tax rates (HICP-CT)[ii] was running at 1.7 % in February, up from 1.5 % in January. The difference in inflation between the HICP and the HICP-CT is largely due to the changes in excise duties on motor fuels and tobacco. These increases are not taken into account in the HICP-CT.

Inflation and effect on inflation for the 12 main groups

Based on the breakdown into 12 main groups, the highest inflation rate in February was measured for "Alcoholic beverages and tobacco" (4.1 %). The lowest inflation rate was measured for “clothing and footwear” and “communication” (both 0.6 %).

The main group with the largest upward effect on inflation in February was "housing, water, energy" with an effect on inflation of 0.3 percentage point. The largest downward effect was measured for "food and non-alcoholic beverages" (-0.2 percentage point).

Inflation [iii] and effect[iv]on inflation for the overall HICP and 12 main groups

Product group Weight (‰) Inflation on annual basis (%) Effect on inflation (percentage point)
HICP HICP-CT
Dec/18 Jan/19 Feb/19 Feb/19 Dec/18 Jan/19 Feb/19
0 Total expenditure 1000.0 2.2 1.8 2.0 1.7      
1 Food and non-alcoholic beverages 165.0 1.4 1.0 0.7 0.7 -0.2 -0.1 -0.2
2 Alcoholic beverages and tobacco 49.7 4.9 4.6 4.1 0.3 0.1 0.1 0.1
3 Clothing and footwear 53.2 0.6 0.4 0.6 0.6 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1
4 Housing, water and energy 162.8 4.1 3.1 3.6 3.6 0.4 0.3 0.3
5 Interior decoration and household appliances 74.1 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1
6 Health 81.5 1.4 1.0 1.0 1.0 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1
7 Transport 123.6 3.4 1.7 2.6 1.9 0.2 0.0 0.1
8 Communication 32.9 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.6 -0.1 0.0 0.0
9 Recreation and culture 87.8 1.5 2.3 3.3 3.3 -0.1 0.1 0.1
10 Education 5.0 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 0.0 0.0 0.0
11 Hotels, cafés and restaurants 80.7 2.3 1.0 1.0 1.0 0.0 -0.1 -0.1
12 Various goods and services 83.7 1.4 2.1 2.0 2.0 -0.1 0.0 0.0

Inflation according to specific aggregates

The overall HICP can be broken down into five specific aggregates which together form the total expenditure.

  • The inflation rate for fuels and energy sources has gone up. It was running at 6.2 % in February compared to 4.3 % in January. Prices increased on average by 1.4 % compared to the previous month. The average inflation rate of this aggregate for the last twelve months is 9.5 %.
  • Inflation for processed food products stood at 1.9 % in February compared to 2.2 % in January and 2.6 % in December. Prices decreased on average by 0.1 % compared to January.
  • Inflation for unprocessed food (fruit, vegetables, meat and fish) amounts to -0.2 % in February compared to 0.4 % in January and in December. Prices remained stable on average compared to January. The average inflation rate of this aggregate for the last twelve months is 1.9 %.
  • Inflation for non-energy industrial goods was running at 1.0 % in February, compared to 0.9 % in January and in December. Prices increased by 5.0 % on average compared to the previous month, mainly due to the winter sales in January.
  • Inflation for services in February amounted to 1.8 %, a slight increase compared to 1.7 % in January and December. Prices increased on average by 0.9 % compared to the previous month.

 

Core inflation (inflation without energy and unprocessed food) stood at 1.6 % in February, and has remained unchanged since July 2018. Average core inflation over the last 12 months has also been 1.6 %. Prices of this subaggregate increased on average by 2.0 % compared to the previous month.

Inflation according to specific aggregates

Specific aggregates Weight (‰) Inflation on annual basis (%) 12-month average (%) Monthly change
Dec/18 Jan/19 Feb/19 Feb/19 Feb/19
Total expenditure 1000.0 2.2 1.8 2.0 2.4 1.8
Fuels and energy sources 97.4 8.1 4.3 6.2 9.5 1.4
Processed food products 171.5 2.6 2.2 1.9 2.7 -0.1
Unprocessed food 43.2 0.4 0.4 -0.2 1.9 0.0
Non-energy industrial goods 267.2 0.9 0.9 1.0 0.8 5.0
Services 420.8 1.7 1.7 1.8 1.6 0.9
HICP without energy and unprocessed food (core inflation) 859.4 1.6 1.6 1.6 1.6 2.0

Since February 2019, Eurostat publishes the time series of these specific aggregates based on the COICOP at 5-digit level, with a revision from January 2017. The inflation rates of January 2019 and December 2018 mentioned above are the revised values. The special aggregates until 2016 remain based on the COICOP at 4-digit level. So there is a small break in the series between December 2016 and 2017.

This revision does not affect the total inflation. Only the distribution within the 5 specific aggregates changes. The main differences can be observed for processed food products and unprocessed food, due to more shifts among the COICOP 5 aggregates.

The figures below show the difference between the initial and the revised values of the specific aggregates:

hicp2019-02b_en.png

Effect of sub-indices on inflation

The largest upward effect on inflation was caused by electricity (0.20 percentage point). Travels abroad provided an effect of 0.13 percentage point. Tobacco provided an effect of 0.12 percentage point, domestic heating oil an effect of 0.10 percentage point and motor fuels provided an effect of 0.08 percentage point. Finally, gas provided an effect of 0.07 percentage point.

Sub-indices with the largest upward effect on inflation

Sub-index Weight (‰) Effect on inflation (percentage point)
2019 Feb/19
04.5.1 Electricity 31.9 0.20
09.6.0 Travels abroad 13.9 0.13
02.2.0 Tobacco 30.5 0.12
04.5.3 Domestic heating oil 12.5 0.10
07.2.2 Motor fuels 34.9 0.08
04.5.2 Gas 17.2 0.07

The downward effect on inflation was the largest for accommodation, with an effect of -0.08 percentage point. Clothing and fruit provided an effect of -0.07 percentage point.

Sub-indices with the largest downward effect on inflation

Sub-index Weight (‰) Effect on inflation (percentage point)
2019 Feb/19
11.2.0 Accommodation 9.1 -0.08
03.1.2 Clothing 42.1 -0.07
01.1.6 Fruit 11.9 -0.07

Comparison with neighbouring countries

Since the HICP of the neighbouring countries will not be published until later, comparisons can only be made for the month of January.

In January, inflation in Belgium was running at 1.8 %, down from the 2.2 % registered in December. The Netherlands registered an inflation rate of 2.0 % in January; a slight increase compared to an inflation rate of 1.9 % in December. Inflation in France was running at 1.4 % in January, down from 1.9 % in December. Inflation in Germany was running at 1.7 % in January, and remained unchanged from December.

hicp2019-02c_en.png

Belgium's inflation rate based on the HICP-CT stood at 1.5 % in January, down from a rate of 2.0 % in December. In Germany, this inflation amounted to 1.7 %, just like the regular HICP inflation. In France, this inflation rate decreased to 1,1 % in January compared to 1,3 % in December. In the Netherlands, this inflation rate was running at 0.5 % in January, down from 1.4 % in December.

hicp2019-02d_en.png

 


[i]In addition to the national consumer price index (CPI), Statbel also calculates a European harmonised consumer price index (Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices, HICP). The HICP is used to compare inflation rates in the EU Member States. To this end, the applied expenditure approach and methods have been coordinated as much as possible and laid down in European regulations. The results of the CPI and HICP are not the same. This is mainly due to a different weighting and composition of the basket of goods and services on which these indices are based.

The HICP is also used by the European Central Bank in its monetary policy. Additionally, the HICP is used to determine to what extent a Member State meets the inflation criteria set in the Treaty on European Union.

Differences between the HICP and the current CPI are:

  • The weighting of the basket of goods and services in the HICP is mainly based on the national accounts. At lower detailed levels the Household Budget Survey is used. The CPI mostly uses the Household Budget Survey at all levels.
  • The reference population of the HICP consists of private households (including tourists in Belgium) and institutional households (e.g. retirement homes and nursing homes). In the CPI, this population currently consists of private households with a reference person under a maximum age.
  • The HICP uses the concept of domestic expenditure: expenditure in Belgium by the reference population. The CPI uses the concept of national expenditure: expenditure by the reference population irrespective of the location.
  • Seasonal adjustment is not applied in the HICP, but is applied in the CPI to travels abroad and stays in holiday villages.
  • Sales periods in the CPI are systematically spread over 6 months, but are included in the same month in the HICP.
  • Current prices for domestic heating oil are used in the HICP calculation. A weighted 12-month average is applied in the CPI calculation.

[ii]The HICP-CT is calculated in the same way as the regular HICP, but the prices in this index are calculated based on constant tax rates. This index therefore reflects the theoretically potential effect of changes in indirect tax rates (such as VAT or excise duties) on measured inflation. However, this is a theoretical effect, since it presupposes that tax changes are immediately and entirely reflected in prices paid by consumers.

[iii]Inflation on annual basis measures the price changes between the current month and the same month of the year before. A 12-month average compares the average HICP of the last 12 months with the average of the previous 12 months. A monthly change compares the price levels of the last two months.

[iv] An effect on inflation shows the changes on the inflation rate by including the sub-index in the HICP. The effect not only takes the weight of the sub-index into account, but it also takes into account whether the sub-index inflation is higher or lower than that of the total expenditure (overall HICP).

Table 1
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Inflation calculated based on harmonised index of consumer prices by group of products and services, last 12 months

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Table 2
Table 3
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Table 4

Doel en korte beschrijving

De geharmoniseerde consumptieprijsindex (HICP) is een economische indicator de prijsevolutie van goederen en diensten, gekocht door huishoudens, die doorheen de tijd te meten. De HICP maakt dan ook een vergelijkbare meting van inflatie mogelijk in de eurozone, de EU, de Europese Economische Ruimte en voor alle andere landen inclusief kandidaat Lidstaten voor de Europese Unie. De HICP wordt berekend op een geharmoniseerde wijze en op basis van gemeenschappelijke concepten. Ze is de officiële meting van inflatie in de eurozone voor monetaire doeleinden en om de convergentiecriteria zoals vastgelegd in het Verdrag van Maastricht te beoordelen..

Populatie

Uiteindelijke gezinsuitgaven van gezinnen die op Belgisch grondgebied wonen.

Frequentie

Maandelijks.

Timing publicatie

Resultaten beschikbaar 3 dagen na de referentieperiode

Definities

Geharmoniseerde prijsindex (GICP) : Het geharmoniseerde indexcijfer van de consumptieprijzen (GICP) werd in 1997 opgericht om over een vergelijkbare meting van de inflatie tussen de deelnemende landen uit de toekomstige eurozone te beschikken. Sinds het begin van de euro is het GICP één van de belangrijkste meetinstrumenten van de Europese Centrale Bank (ECB) bij het voeren van haar monetaire beleid. De opgenomen prijzen zijn de prijzen zoals ze werkelijk door de consumenten worden gedragen inclusief bv. de belastingen op de producten, zoals de belasting op de toegevoegde waarde, en houden rekening met de koopjesperiodes.

Inflatie : Inflatie wordt gedefinieerd als de verhouding tussen de waarde van het indexcijfer van de consumptieprijzen van een gegeven maand en het indexcijfer van dezelfde maand het jaar voordien. De inflatie meet dus het tempo waarin het algemene niveau van de prijzen evolueert.

COICOP ; COICOP is een nomenclatuur ontwikkeld door de Verenigde Naties welke tot doel heeft om individuele consumptie uitgaven van gezinnen te classificeren volgens gebruiksdoel.

Geharmoniseerd indexcijfer met constante belastingvoeten : Het geharmoniseerd indexcijfer van de consumptieprijzen met constante belastingvoeten is afgeleid van de HICP en wordt berekend door het niveau van indirecte belastingen (hoofdzakelijk accijnzen en BTW) constant te houden ten opzichte van het niveau dat in december van het jaar voordien werd waargenomen. Dit indexcijfer laat toe het maximum effect op de inflatie te meten bij wijzigingen in de belastingen door te veronderstellen dat deze rechtstreeks en integraal worden doorberekend op de eindprijs die wordt betaald door de consumenten.

Weging : Gewicht in de korf van goederen en diensten bepaald door de resultaten van de nationale rekeningen (uitgaven optiek) en die van het huishoudbudgetonderzoek.

Inflatie met constante belastingvoeten : Inflatie wordt gedefinieerd als de verhouding tussen de waarde van het indexcijfer van de consumptieprijzen van een gegeven maand en het indexcijfer van dezelfde maand het jaar voordien. De inflatie meet dus het tempo waarin het algemene niveau van de prijzen evolueert.

Opmerkingen

Opmerking betreffende tijdigheid van de geharmoniseerd indexcijfer van de consumptieprijzen (HICP) - De HICP wordt telkens gepubliceerd op de 3de werkdag van de maand met uitzondering van de maanden januari (5de werkdag) en februari (14ste werkdag).

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