Sat | Dec 5, 2020

New inflation basket in a year

Published:Wednesday | August 7, 2019 | 12:18 AM

Statistical Institute of Jamaica expects to update the inflation basket in a year’s time from the results of the last household expenditure survey, or HES, says senior statistician Hope Perkins.

The survey, which provides information on the goods and services purchased by private households, was conducted from February 2017 to February 2018.

“We are currently processing data to determine a new basket,” Perkins said on Monday.

“The 2017 survey is timely and critical in providing data sets that will capture the change in present consumption patterns of Jamaicans. These results will be disseminated in 2020,” she said.

Inflation is measured from movements in the consumer price index, or CPI.

Currently, goods and services in the CPI basket are divided into 12 major expenditure divisions – food and non-alcoholic beverages; alcoholic beverages and tobacco; clothing and footwear; housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels; furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance; health; transport; communication; recreation and culture; education; restaurants and accommodation services; and miscellaneous goods and services.

The weightings add up to 100 across all categories, the most heavily weighted of which are food and non-alcoholic beverages at 37.4; housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels at 12.8; and transport, which also has a weighting of 12.8.

The survey also tracks changing consumer tastes and preferences, changes in income levels, quality changes with the entry of new products into the market, technology trends and changes in the demographic structure of the population.

The HES is conducted every five to 10 years. The current measurement of the CPI is based on the survey conducted from June 2004 to March 2005. The inflation basket was updated from that data in December 2006.

“The CPI does not reflect an individual personal ‘inflation experience’, as there are different factors influencing their purchases,” said Perkins. “The CPI measures price changes in all goods and services throughout the year, even if some households may not be making certain purchases. It contains a comprehensive list of goods and services purchased,” she said.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com