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Theme 2.06 Prices

1. Description

The Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) is the key inflation indicator for the conduct of the monetary policy of the euro area by the European Central Bank (ECB) and for the assessment of convergence. Two important aims are to improve HICP's quality in the medium-term through the adoption of further minimum standards and also to develop indices for housing, in particular owner-occupied housing and house price indices.
The Purchasing Power Parities (PPPs) are necessary for the allocation of structural funds by the Commission (DG Regio). The PPP process is laid down in Regulation 1445/2007 of European Parliament and of the Council of December 2007 (the PPP Regulation). The strategy is to further improve the data handling and production process of PPPs (in particular with the PPP database and related tools) as well as Member States' sources and methods.
The specific indicator, the correction coefficients, and the pension contribution rate are requested by the Commission for the annual adjustment of the salaries of the officials of the Community institutions.

2. Work Programme for 2009

2.1 Key priorities 2009

In the field of price statistics, timely data production will continue to be a top priority for the monthly harmonised index of consumer prices (including flash estimates) in 2009. The major priorities for HICP development will be owner-occupied housing and, quality adjustment and sampling. A further aim will be the adoption of further requirements for HICP weightings. Emphasis will also be put on communications concerning HICPs and inflation measurement and on monitoring the compliance of national HICPs with standards and requirements. A project aiming at investigating the possibilities of using existing price data (HICP and PPP) in the process of collecting and disseminating detailed information on average prices will be developed in collaboration with DG SANCO. The project aims to use existing price data (HICP or PPP) to the maximum degree possible.
Concerning purchasing power parities (PPPs), it is important to produce PPPs for 2008 and revise PPPs for 2006 and 2007. Eurostat will need to carry out two consumer goods price surveys and two capital goods price surveys as well as surveys of expenditure weights and of data on non-market services and dwelling services. It will continue work on the implementation of the PPP Regulation and undertake first assessments of countries' sources and methods based on PPP inventories and quality reports to be transmitted by Member States. It will also aim to bring in full operation and manage successfully the new PPP database, and to implement results from the review of the process of the consumer goods price surveys. In addition the methodology for construction PPPs will be improved.
The two Commission reports on remunerations and pensions of EU officials will be provided. The information on correction coefficients, the annual adjustment, the pension contribution rate, liability and budget forecast will be produced. Developments will concern mainly the analysis of the Remuneration systems, the international data base on extra EU correction coefficients, the pension liability for members and the health liability.

2.2 Objectives 2009

2.2.1.Ongoing work

  • Produce quality-check and further develop HICP monthly data and HICP flash estimates, including the development of HICP at constant tax rates and HICP administered prices measures;
  • Complete the pilot Owner Occupied Housing (OOH) project, and establish experimental dwelling price indices;
  • Develop and follow up the implementation of standards on quality adjustment and sampling and weighting;
  • Extend HICP communications to promote the HICP;
  • Monitor the compliance of national indices with HICP standards with follow up as required;
  • Produce PPPs for 2008 and revised PPPs for 2006 and 2007;
  • Carry out two consumer goods price surveys, two capital goods surveys and surveys of expenditure weights and of data on non-market services and dwelling services;
  • Undertake assessments of countries' sources and methods for PPPs;
  • Bring in full operation and ensure successful management of the PPP database;
  • Improve methodology for construction PPPs;
  • Produce Correction Coefficients and Annual Adjustment;
  • Produce pension contribution rate, liability and budget forecast;
  • Collect and disseminate detailed information on average prices.

2.2.2.New work

  • Analyse remuneration systems;
  • Develop the field of health liability.
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