February 2007, Vol. 130, No. 2
International comparisons of Harmonized Indexes of Consumer Prices
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In October 2006, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, the Bureau) introduced a new table to its Web site. The new table, "Harmonized index of consumer prices for selected countries and areas, percent change from same period of previous year, 2003–06," uses the methods of the European Union’s Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) to compare inflation rates of all G7 countries except Canada.1 The table also displays data for two transnational aggregates, one for the European Union (EU) and the other for the Euro area.2 The table, which is available at http://www.bls.gov/fls/home.htm, will be updated monthly on the same schedule as the BLS Employment Situation news release, which typically is issued on the first Friday of each month.3 These harmonized indexes provide a better basis for international comparisons of inflation than the national CPI data published by each country.
1 G7 countries include the following: the United States, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Canada is not included on the table because there is no Canadian price index comparable to the HICP at this time.
2 The column entitled "European Union" refers to EU member countries as of May 1, 2004, also referred to as the EU-25. The EU-25 index is the household expenditure-weighted average for Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The column entitled "Euro area-12" refers to the European Union member countries that have adopted the euro as the common currency. The index for this group is the household expenditure-weighted average for Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain.
3 The table is available at www.bls.gov/fls/home.htm. For a schedule of upcoming releases, see www.bls.gov/schedule/schedule/by_prog/empsit_sched.htm.
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