Date of last update: February 06, 2013
Source1 : Insee - Division "Indices de prix de l'industrie et des services"
Source2 : Direction générale des douanes et droits indirects (DGDDI)
The Foreign trade indices (base 1995) published on this site in their entirety up until July 2009 and in part up until July 2011 were compiled in the French Classification of Products of 1993 (CPF rev.1), then aggregated into "main products" and by zone (17 as calculation intermediaries, 4 being published without counting the "whole world"). The base and reference year was 1995, but the relevance of price indices (Paasche type in the previous series) and volume indices (Laspeyres type in the previous series) with a given fixed base decreases with age.
These new series are compiled in the French Classification of Products of 2008 (CPF Rev. 2) from the class level (4 digits), and the base and reference year is 2005, which is more relevant for recent years (it may be less so for older series). The customs series have been directly re-used in this new classification, so the history had to be limited to 1999. The price indices which are the main basis for these series are only established at the level of two zones (Eurozone, outside of the Eurozone) without counting the "whole world".
The standard classification for international trade in 2007 (CTCI Rev.4) is the fourth version of the list of products and aggregates recommended by international organisations (UN, OECD...) in order to analyse foreign trade of goods (the first was developed in 1950, but inherited a League of Nations project drafted in 1938). It can be consulted directly here at section level (1 digit) via a transitional table using data from classes of products (4 digits) in the French Classification of Products of 2008.
Unit value indices for foreign trade are compiled by the INSEE using statistics detailed by product and by country, in value and in quantity (mass or number of units), published monthly by Customs and Excise. These are not strictly speaking price indices, but average value indices translating the development of the value/quantity traded ratio in relation to a specific period, which here is 2005 (otherwise 1995). The average values are first calculated at the detailed level of statistical classifications of customs, and then aggregated in the form of indices at different levels of publication using the values of the observed month as weighting coefficients ("Paasche" indices).
The Production and import price indices are, on the other hand, true price indices, compiled for industrial sales prices, which is to say the price of production sold by French industrial businesses to the French market, then extended to include export producer prices (from 200 onwards) and then import prices (from 2004 onwards) under the aegis of European regulations CE) n° 1165/98 and 1158/2005. These are true price indices in the sense that they are compiled by way of compulsory survey (Observation des Prix de l'Industrie et des Services aux Entreprises (OPISE)) to track the development of identical products sold under identical trading conditions to a comparable clientele, in line with the methodology outlined in numerous international manuals.
The persistent heterogeneity of sometimes complex industrial products, as well as the changing nature of trade conditions (incoterms) has always been recognised by international economic literature as an inherent defect of unit value indices, but the development of alternative statistics by way of a survey was always clearly going to be more costly in terms of time and money than the exploitation of an administrative database, which is why European and OECD countries have only recently swapped one for the other.
The calculation of unit value indices continues because the OPISE (Observation des Prix de l'Industrie et des Services aux Entreprises) system does not include agriculture. The use of quotation series monitored by France-AgriMer (formerly the Service des Nouvelles de Marchés) could however soon be substituted by UVIs, for both imports and exports.
Unit value indices have also been recalculated for industrial products using a database compiled by Customs and Excise in order to retropolate the export and import price indices back to 1999, started on a case by case basis in 2000, 2004 and then more recently.
The methodology used for unit value indices has changed slightly compared with the 1995 base: the NC8 classification has been updated, the CPF6 level (from CPF 2008) is used as a calculation intermediary, and unit values are calculated immediately in the form of monthly indices linked to the previous year (or the following year for past series of industrial products previous to 2005) and no longer to the previous month.
We have summarised the process below:
The methodology for these indices is explained in the documentation relating to the Production and import price indices. dataset. For each separate branch at class level (4 digits), a panel of enterprises is monitored in a sample from control series defined in terms of their physical and commercial characteristics for a given base and reference year. Price indices at this level are of a Laspeyres type, chain-linked every five years with those before and after them coming from a different panel and a different sample, defined in relation to another base and reference year (at five year intervals)..
Producer price indices distinguish between production sold on the domestic market, production sold on foreign markets of the Eurozone and production sold on foreign markets outside the Eurozone. It is the prices of this "exported production" which are integrated with the Customs "exports" prices.
Producer price and import indices for industrial products are aggregated using the fixed base Laspeyres index technique, with the base and reference year being 2005.
Unit value indices are however annually chain-linked Paasche indices at all levels.
Composite aggregates (mixing producer price and import indices and unit value indices) are also obtained using a Paasche technique without it affecting the aggregation of the part which is truly industrial, which remains a Laspeyres type index.
Price indices from the CTCI sections are obtained by the aggregation of certain industrial price indices and certain agricultural unit value indices, so are therefore composite aggregates in the sense outlined above.
The "goods totals" are adapted to the customs trade perimeter which is usually published and annotated: they exclude military goods and trade of goods for work on demand, measured by the OPISE system for the value of service rendered.
The volume indices are ultimately obtained by dividing the value indices of a certain level of classification by the price index (detailed or aggregated) of the corresponding classification level.
Volume indices are calculated twice a month:
In line with the revision policy for producer price and importation indices, each monthly volume index is provisional until the end of the fourth month (towards the 30th of month m+4).
Only monthly and raw indices are calculated and published (not annual series, nor de-seasonalised values).
To meet the needs of national accounting, annual agricultural UVIs are calculated, but are not published for the public.