The Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) was introduced by the Council Regulation (EC) n. 2494/95 of 23 October 1995. It was compiled for the first time by Eurostat in March 1997, for the 12 European Union countries that participated to the third stage of the EMU, as to provide comparable measures to assess the achievement of price convergence. The HICPs are essentially a set of European Union consumer price indices (CPIs) calculated across countries with a harmonized approach to register only "pure" inflation and, consequently, they are not comparable with domestic CPIs serving different purposes. Some differences between domestic and harmonized statistics on consumer price indices can be the methods used to estimate prices for goods, for instance in reference to sale periods , the items covered and the goods' classification. The HICP basket of goods differs from country to country as to mirror the specific national household final monetary consumption expenditure (HFMCE). The basket makes reference to the Classification Of Individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP/HICP), and in general the main headings covered by the HICP are the following: Food, Alcohol and tobacco, Clothing, Housing, Household equipment, Health, Transport, Communication, Recreation and culture, Education, Hotels and restaurants, Miscellaneous. On the contrary, some items excluded from the computation are: narcotics, imputed rents for housing, including rents of owner-occupiers, games of chance (gambling), financial intermediation services indirectly measured (FISIM). The weights used are derived from National Accounts and Household Budget surveys (or more specific and technical sources) as to reflect the relative household final monetary consumer expenditure (HFMCE) expressed in euro (or in PPP for EU countries not participating in the EMU). The chain index starting from the base-year (2005=100 since January 2006) allows to review the weights every year and to update prices to December t-1. HICP’s time series can be found on the Eurostat’s website: http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/hicp/data/database.
Editor: Bianca GIANNINI
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