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New manual helps countries measure inflation by tracking prices of goods and services

The Consumer Price Index Manual, developed by an Intersecretariat Working Group including UNECE, assists countries in producing indices that follow international standards

On behalf of the Intersecretariat Working Group on Price Statistics, of which UNECE is a member, IMF has released the Consumer Price Index Manual: Concepts and Methods. The Manual was endorsed earlier this year by the United Nations Statistical Commission as an international statistical standard.  

The Consumer Price Index, or CPI, is a key indicator in most countries. It looks at the prices of goods and services typically consumed by households, such as food, transport, clothing, health care and household items, and how these change over time. By calculating how much a household would need to spend to keep its consumption at the same level over time, the CPI tells us how prices are changing in comparable, real-world terms. The CPI is widely used both as a general measure of inflation and for indexation of wages, pensions, social security transfers and various types of contracts.

The Manual provides recommendation to countries on compiling CPIs based on internationally-agreed methods and practices. It draws upon a wide range of experience and expertise to describe methods and data sources for countries to improve the quality and international comparability of their CPIs.

The Manual replaces the earlier 2004 CPI Manual and is the result of nearly six years of intensive work. It gives up-to-date guidance based on new research and developments in methods and practices since 2004. The Manual offers more extensive recommendations on the use of electronic data sources and on measuring the price developments of goods and services purchased online.

The manual was updated by a Technical Expert Group and the Intersecretariat Working Group comprising Eurostat, ILO, IMF, OECD, UNECE and the World Bank.

The 2020 Manual is available at https://www.unece.org/stats/prices.html