Madrid (EFE).- The National Institute of Statistics (INE) has included since January in the calculation of the consumer price index (CPI) the price of gas and electricity in the free market, a change in which it had been working more of one year because it has required a process of adaptation of the information collected.
The INE has reported in a statement that it has also modified the structure of the weights to adapt it to European regulations, so that the weight of the food and alcoholic beverages group decreases by three points, and the weight of housing (including electricity) in the shopping cart.
Conversely, transport increased 0.8 points and hotels, cafes and restaurants increased 0.2 points.
As of 2023, the main source used to update the weights has become the national accounts, instead of the household budget survey (EPF) as up to now.
The deputy general director of Short-term Statistics of the INE, Ignacio González Veiga, explained at a press conference that when changes are made in the weightings it is inevitable that some “comparability” is lost in exchange for gaining “having an updated CPI”.
González Veiga has ensured that the effect of changes in products or weightings is never quantified, nor is a double CPI calculated with the old and new methodology, while stressing that the year-on-year inflation rate has stood at 5.8 % January and that is “a fact of which there is no doubt.”
Every year the weight or importance of the CPI components is updated and every five years the complete structure is updated for all levels of disaggregation.
According to González Veiga, neither the five-year changes in products nor the annual updating of weights prevent the “chaining” of the statistics, although he recalled that in January 2002 there was a “break in the historical series” by including discounted prices, Therefore, it was decided to prepare the 2001 indices also with reduced prices in order to give a comparable annual rate.
A third change announced by the INE has to do with the procedure used to carry out the survey, since throughout 2023 the sectors in which prices are collected through electronic devices will be expanded to simplify the process of obtaining data. information.
Inclusion of the free market for gas and electricity
In January 2022, the last update of the CPI calculation base took place, in which there were changes in the composition of the shopping basket with the inclusion of masks and the removal of CDs and DVDs, among other modifications.
At first, they also wanted to introduce the price of electricity and gas in the free market, because the number of households that contract these supplies outside the regulated market (whose rates were the only ones included in the calculation of the CPI).
However, this expansion of coverage could not be undertaken in 2022 due to the fact that the information was not available with a sufficient level of detail, nor with the necessary technical criteria that would allow the application of a methodology consistent with the requirements demanded in the CPI calculation.
Throughout 2022, the main distribution companies have adapted their information processing systems to respond to the CPI methodological requirements and to be able to incorporate free market prices with full guarantees.