RBI chief pitches for producer price index for inflation

D Subbarao
New Delhi, Jul 17: Reserve Bank Governor D Subbarao today proposed a producers price index saying that the present structure of measuring inflation does not capture the price movement of services and is a hybrid of rate quotes.

The Producer Price Index (PPI) will be better able to measure the average change over time in the sale prices of domestic goods and services, he said.

"In its present structure, the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) does not capture the price movement of services. Also, it is a hybrid of consumer and producer price quotes," he said at the Sixth Annual Statistics Day Conference here.

Sellers' and purchasers' prices differ due to government subsidies, sales and excise taxes, and distribution costs, Subbarao said.

"For these reasons, it is, therefore, desirable that we move towards developing a Producer Price Index (PPI) that measures the average change over time in the sale prices of domestic goods and services," he added.

The RBI Governor further said that core inflation gives a better picture of price trend as it is less volatile WPI-based inflation.

Core inflation is usually estimated by excluding food and energy prices from the basket of goods and services that represent a household's spending.

"The rationale for exclusion is that the prices of food and energy tend to fluctuate sharply and such volatility from the supply side, if passed on into the general price index, makes it difficult to interpret the overall trend," he said.

"The surmise is that core inflation, being less volatile, gives a better sense of future price trends," Subbarao said.

"If one takes a longer series of over three years, there is some evidence that core inflation does have statistically significant predictive power," he added.


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