Date of last update: June 12, 2013
Source1 : Insee - Division "Prix à la Consommation"
The CPI covers all goods and market services consumed on French territory by households and non-residents (for example, tourists).
Its theoretical scope is defined as that of actual final monetary consumption expenditure of households.
The CPI is collected through a stratified sample, according to 3 criteria:
Type of product: a sample of a little over 1000 product families, called "varieties", is designed to take account of product heterogeneity across items.
The variety is the basic level for product tracking and calculating the index. The list of varieties is confidential and the CPI is not published at this level.
The CPI is the official measuring instrument for inflation. It allows us to estimate, between two given periods, the average variation in prices of goods and service consumed by households. It is a composite measurement of "pure" price trends, that is, at a constant quality of products consumed.
Retail outlets (eleven forms of sale are distinguished) are the statistical units surveyed. The crossing of these different criteria results in about 160,000 monthly readings.
INSEE has a network of investigators spread over the entire country, who collect the prices every month in the retail outlets. The information is gathered throughout each month by the investigators. The readings are monthly, except for seasonal products, which are collected fortnightly. 40,000 tariffs are also collected centrally.
The sample is updated every year so as to take consumption behaviour trends into account and to introduce new products. Changes to the sample apply to the list and the content of varieties, as well as the breakdown by form of sale and by town.
The CPI is a Laspeyres index, which is chain-linked every year. In addition to the sample selection, the weightings used to aggregate the elementary indices (crossing variety x town) are also annually updated. These weightings represent the share of household consumption covered by the CPI. More particularly, they are obtained from annual series of household consumption within the national accounting system.
Specific processing is carried out for fresh products, other seasonal varieties, tariff varieties and to determine the price trends, at constant quality, when a removed product is replaced in the course of the year by another product.
Promotions and sales offered to all consumers are taken into account.
The first generation of price indices date back to 1914. Over time, the scope of the CPI has widened both geographically and in terms of the population and consumption.
The CPI, 1998 base, is the 7th generation of indices. It covers the entire population and the whole national territory (all major cities and 4 out of 5 overseas departments). It came into force in January 1999.
The CPI of a given month is published monthly around the 13th of the following month, and it is not revised.
Other complementary indicators are published at the same time: the overall index corrected for seasonal variations (CSV), index excluding public tariffs and products with volatile prices, adjusted for tax measures (core inflation), Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), and price indices of mass consumption goods in supermarkets.
The Mean retail prices proposed in the Macroeconomic databank began in January 1992 (12 groupings divided into about 220 detailed series, in Metropolitan France).
In order to calculate the average price of a variety, we use a two-step process:
This calculation only works for "homogenous" varieties, i.e. grouping together the goods or services which are only slightly different from each other (for example, a baguette).
The average prices which predate January 2002 are average prices in francs, converted into Euros (at a fixed rate of 6.55957).
You can find them in the Bsweb pages, in the macroeconomic database and in the monthly pages of the Consumer Price Index.
A selection of these average prices (120 varieties) is also published for the previous month and the current month, in Excel files which are directly accessible under the consumer price index heading : Detailed monthly indices and average prices for several products (in French only).
The main publications are the following:
The monthly CPI data, the long series and the methodology elements are presented on INSEE's website Insee.fr. It is possible to download the latest issues of Informations Rapides from the website and the Macroeconomic Databank.
The latest indices to come out and the main figures are also available via Insee's voice server: 09 72 72 20 00 (at a "local calls" price) - 24 hours a day.
The basic classification is based on the international COICOP (classification of individual consumption by purpose).
It includes 161 groups and 305 items grouped by consumption function.
The group indices are published on a monthly basis, and for items as an annual average.