ABS wants to pub­lish monthly CPI statis­tics

The Pak Banker - - Company& -

SYD­NEY: The Aus­tralian Bureau of Statis­tics ( ABS) wants to is­sue con­sumer in­fla­tion fig­ures ev­ery month but it says it needs more govern­ment money to do so. Sub­mis­sions from the fi­nance sec­tor, in­clud­ing one from the Re­serve Bank, have backed a monthly re­lease.

Many com­mu­nity groups thought a quar­terly read­ing was ad­e­quate but Aus­tralia is one of only two coun­tries in the de­vel­oped world not to pro­duce a monthly in­fla­tion read­ing.

Four times a year the Bureau of Statis­tics re­leases the lat­est con­sumer in­fla­tion fig­ures for the pre­vi­ous quar­ter. Price rises for ev­ery­thing, from rents to fruit and veg­eta­bles and the cost of elec­tric­ity and wa­ter are tracked. But many think the data is out of date by the time it is re­leased and it should be re­leased ev­ery month.

Well yes I think this re­view ev­ery­one was hop­ing and look­ing for Aus­tralia as one of only a few coun­tries that don't have a monthly CPI (con­sumer price in­dex), to ac­tu­ally move to a monthly CPI. That's Scott Haslem, chief econ­o­mist at in­vest­ment bank, UBS. The Bureau of Statis­tics wants to re­lease the fig­ures monthly but it says it needs more govern­ment fund­ing. It's just fin­ished a re­view of the way the con­sumer in­fla­tion fig­ures are col­lected and re­leased. Ja­son Russo is the man­ager of Eco­nomic Anal­y­sis and Re­port­ing at the ABS.

The view through­out the process from the com­mu­nity was that we had to pro­duce a monthly se­ries to the same qual­ity as the cur­rent quar­terly in­dex. So that means we have to do some ad­di­tional work to make sure that hap­pens, in par­tic­u­lar we have to col­lect more prices, more reg­u­larly through­out the year to en­sure that we main­tain the CPI to the same stan­dard. The bureau says in the re­port that a monthly CPI is ex­pected to be first pub­lished within two to three years of re­ceiv­ing the re­quired fund­ing.

There would be a $6 mil­lion cost at the start of the project to set things up to in­crease our staffing lev­els, to do a re­view of our sam­ples and other ac­tiv­i­ties to make sure that we put in place the right mech­a­nisms to mea­sure the CPI monthly and then there would be an on­go­ing ad­di­tional cost of $50 mil­lion per an­num.

Scott Haslem wants to see a quicker move to monthly read­ings. The RBA has made it clear that the timely pro­vi­sion of ac­cu­rate in­fla­tion data is crit­i­cal to get­ting mon­e­tary pol­icy right and I think with a quar­terly CPI rather than a monthly one, we are re­ally un­der­min­ing our op­por­tu­ni­ties to get the best mon­e­tary pol­icy we pos­si­bly can have. -PB News

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