The Prices Program compiles a number of main economic indicators: the Consumer Price Index (CPI); the House Price Index (HPI); the Wage Price Index (WPI); and a range of Producer and International Trade Price Indexes (PPIs and ITPIs). The program also produces Selected Living Cost Indexes (SLCIs) which are inclusive of the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Costs Index (PBLCI) and Analytical Living Cost Indexes (ALCIs) for selected Australian households. In addition, the program uses information papers, seminars and other means to promote a greater understanding of the concepts, sources and methods of price indexes within the local, national and international communities.
The main clients for the program’s outputs are the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Treasury, the Australian Government Departments of: Education, Employment and Workplace Relations; and Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. Australian, state and territory government agencies whose payments are indexed, economic analysts, and the general business community are also clients of the Prices program.
The main uses of the key prices indicators are listed below.
- CPI is a general measure of price inflation for the household sector. It is used to produce volume estimates for components of the Australian National Accounts; as a basis for indexing pensions, superannuation payments and government taxes and charges; as an input into salary and wage negotiations; and for indexation of government bonds and business contracts
- HPI is a measure of price changes for established houses and for project homes. It is used for analysis of trends in the housing market and of changes in the value of the housing stock
- WPI is a measure of wage inflation. It is used as an input into wage setting negotiations; to produce volume estimates for components of the Australian National Accounts; and for indexation of business contracts
- PPIs and ITPIs are used to produce volume estimates for components of the Australian National Accounts and Balance of Payments; as a guide to future inflationary trends; and for indexation of business contracts
- SLCIs are analytical series used to measure the impact of price changes on the out-of-pocket living costs experienced by employee households, age pensioner households, other government benefit recipient households and self-funded retiree households. Specifically, the PBLCI is used as a basis for indexing pensions and other payments to government benefit recipients.
The main program outputs are the following quarterly publications:
- Consumer Price Index, Australia (ABS cat. no. 6401.0)
- House Price Indexes: Eight Capital Cities (ABS cat. no. 6416.0)
- Wage Price Index, Australia (ABS cat. no. 6345.0)
- Producer Price Indexes, Australia (ABS cat. no. 6427.0) and International Trade Price Indexes, Australia (ABS cat. no. 6457.0)
- Selected Living Cost Indexes, Australia (ABS cat. no. 6467.0).
The main medium-term developments in the program are to:
- conduct research to identify potential uses of administrative and transactional data in the Consumer Price Index – due December 2013
- produce updated Concepts, Sources and Methods publications for the CPI, PPIs and ITPIs – due December 2013
- produce a retail trade margins price index – due December 2013
- review and re-weight the HPI based on 2011 Census of Population and Housing data – due December 2013
- implement the outcomes of the Review of the Producer and International Trade Price Indexes 2012, including: updated presentation structure; incorporate international trade in services price indexes into the suite of PPIs and ITPIs; implement a program of improvements to the coverage of the services industries for PPIs – due 2016.
Marcel van Kints, Assistant Statistician (A/g), Prices Branch
Topics @ a Glance - Inflation and Price Indexes