ABS wants to publish monthly CPI statistics
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 But many think the data is out of date by the time it is released and it should be released every month.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