CPI annual inflation stands at 3.5 per cent in March 2012, up from 3.4 per cent in February. The CPI stands at 122.2 in March 2012 based on 2005=100.
The largest upward pressures to the change in CPI annual inflation between February and March came from food (particularly fruit, bread & cereals and meat), clothing and recreation & culture.
The largest downward pressures to the change in CPI annual inflation between February and March came from electricity, gas & other fuels and transport.
RPI annual inflation stands at 3.6 per cent in March, down from 3.7 per cent in February. The annual rate was last lower in December 2009. The largest downward pressures to the change in RPI annual inflation between February and March came from motoring expenditure and fuel & light. Partially offsetting these were upward pressures from food and clothing. The RPI stands at 240.8 in March 2012 based on January 1987=100.
|Index1 (UK, 2005 = 100)||% change over 1 month||% change over 12 months|
|Food & non-alcoholic beverages||-0.5|
|Alcohol & tobacco||0.2|
|Clothing & footwear||2.2|
|Housing & household services||-0.2|
|Furniture & household goods||1.3|
|Recreation & culture||-0.1|
|Restaurants & hotels||0.2|
|Miscellaneous goods & service||0.0|
|CPI All Items||0.3|
The most significant upward contributions to the 1-month change in the CPI between February and March 2012 came from:
clothing & footwear: as usual, prices rose between February and March but, this year, the rise was 2.2 per cent, which is a record monthly movement for a February to March period. The upward effects came from a wide range of garments, particularly women's outerwear,
transport: prices, overall, rose by 0.8 per cent. By far the largest upward effect came from a 2.2 per cent increase in the price of fuels & lubricants. Petrol prices rose by 3.3 pence per litre on the month to reach a record £1.38 per litre. Diesel prices rose by 2.6 pence per litre to also reach a record level of around £1.46 per litre,
furniture, household equipment & maintenance: where prices rose, as usual, between February and March. This year the rise was 1.3 per cent with the largest upward effect coming from furniture & furnishings.
The most significant downward contribution to the 1-month change in the CPI between February and March 2012 came from:
food & non-alcoholic beverages: prices, overall, fell by 0.5 per cent. The largest downward effects came from sugar, jam, syrups, chocolate & confectionery, where prices fell by 2.4 per cent, and mineral waters, soft drinks & juices, where they fell by 1.6 per cent. Both of these movements were record falls for a February to March period and both follow record rises between January and February.
food & non-alcoholic beverages: prices, overall, fell by 0.5 per cent between February and March this year compared with a fall of 1.4 per cent between the same two months a year ago. The 1.4 per cent fall in 2011 was a record for a February to March movement and reflected supermarket led sales in a number of product groups. The main upward effects behind the change in the rate were from:
- fruit, where prices rose by 0.2 per cent this year but fell by 4.7 per cent a year ago, a record fall for a February to March period. The largest individual contribution came from grapes,
- bread & cereals, where prices rose by 0.2 per cent this year but fell by 2.6 per cent a year ago, the largest ever monthly fall. Breakfast cereals had the largest upward effect due to the timing of sales periods: prices rose after the end of sales this year but fell due to sales in March a year ago,
- meat, where prices rose by 0.8 per cent this year but fell by 0.9 per cent a year ago.
A smaller, partially offsetting, downward effect came from sugar, jam, syrups, chocolate & confectionery, where prices fell by 2.4 per cent this year, a record monthly movement, compared with a fall of 0.5 per cent a year ago. Coffee, tea & cocoa also had a small downward effect as prices fell by 3.5 per cent this year, a record fall for a February to March period, but rose by 0.8 per cent a year ago.
clothing & footwear: prices, overall, rose by 2.2 per cent between February and March this year compared with a rise of 1.1 per cent between the same two months a year ago. The monthly rise in 2012 is a record for a February to March period. The upward effect came principally from garments, particularly men's and women's outerwear,
recreation & culture: prices, overall, fell by 0.1 per cent between February and March this year compared with a fall of 0.4 per cent a year ago. The upward effects were from a variety of product groups with the most significant being games, toys & hobbies (particularly computer games), data processing equipment and recording media (particularly pre-recorded DVDs). These were partially offset by a downward effect from photographic, cinematographic & optical equipment, where prices fell by 6.1 per cent this year compared with a fall of 1.4 per cent a year ago.
The most significant downward contributions to the change in the CPI 12-month rate between February and March 2012 came from:
housing & household services: prices, overall, fell by 0.2 per cent between February and March this year but rose by 0.4 per cent between the same two months a year ago. The downward effect was driven by electricity and gas where average bills fell this year but rose a year ago.
transport: the downward effect was driven by second-hand cars and sea transport partially offset by air transport:
- second-hand car prices fell by 0.1 per cent this year but rose by 1.5 per cent a year ago,
- sea fares fell by 7.6 per cent this year but rose by 3.1 per cent a year ago. The fall was a record for a February to March period and follows a large rise between January and February this year,
- air fares rose by 4.4 per cent this year compared with a rise of 2.1 per cent a year ago. The main upward effect came from European routes.
|Food & non-alcoholic beverages||4.6|
|Alcohol & tobacco||8.0|
|Clothing & footwear||3.2|
|Housing & household services||6.2|
|Furniture & household goods||4.1|
|Recreation & culture||-0.6|
|Restaurants & hotels||2.9|
|Miscellaneous goods & services||2.7|
|CPI All Items||3.5|
housing & household services which contributed 0.8 percentage points with the main upward effects coming from gas, electricity and rent, where charges, overall, rose by 16.1 per cent, 8.1 per cent and 2.9 per cent respectively over the 12 months to March,
transport which contributed 0.5 percentage points. The largest effects came from fuels & lubricants, where prices, overall, rose by 4.8 per cent over the 12 months to March, and air transport, where fares rose by 8.0 per cent over the same period,
food & non-alcoholic beverages which also contributed 0.5 percentage points with prices, overall, rising by 4.6 per cent over the year. The upward contributions were widespread with all categories having upward effects; the largest came from meat, where prices rose by 6.1 per cent over the 12 months to March, bread & cereals, where there was a 4.8 per cent rise, and vegetables, with a 4.2 per cent rise.
The CPIY is the same as the all items CPI except that it excludes price changes which are directly due to changes in indirect taxation (such as VAT).
In the year to March, the CPIY rose by 3.5 per cent, unchanged from February. The CPIY 12-month rate has therefore remained unchanged between February and March compared with an increase of 0.1 percentage points in the CPI 12-month rate between the same two months. The impact of rounding is the main reason for the small difference in the changes to the CPIY and CPI 12-month rates between February and March. There were no changes to indirect taxation that impacted on the CPI between those months.
The CPI-CT is the same as the CPI except that tax rates are kept constant at the rates they were in the base period (currently January 2012) and vehicle excise duty and television licence fees are excluded.
In the year to March, CPI-CT rose by 3.3 per cent, up from 3.2 per cent in February. The CPI-CT and CPI 12-month rates have therefore both increased by 0.1 percentage points between February and March. This is because there were no changes to indirect taxation that impacted on the CPI between February and March.
In the year to March the all items RPI rose by 3.6 per cent, down from 3.7 per cent in February. The RPI 12-month rate has therefore decreased by 0.1 percentage points between February and March compared with a rise of 0.1 percentage points in the CPI 12-month rate between the same two months.
The main reasons for these different movements in the RPI and CPI 12-month rates between February and March are:
car insurance: has a far higher weight in the RPI than the CPI so the downward effect from this component had a larger impact on the RPI,
clothing & footwear: has a lower weight in the RPI than the CPI so the upward effect from this component had a smaller impact on the RPI.
The RPIX is the same as the all items RPI except for mortgage interest payments, which is excluded from RPIX.
In the year to March, the RPIX rose by 3.7 per cent, down from 3.8 per cent in February. Therefore the RPIX and RPI 12-month rates both fell by 0.1 percentage points between February and March.
Mortgage interest payments had only a small downward impact on the change in the RPI 12-month rate between February and March. This impact was not sufficient to cause a difference between the changes to the RPIX and RPI 12-month rates between these two months.
The RPIY is the same as the all items RPI except that it excludes price changes which are directly due to changes in indirect taxation (such as VAT) and mortgage interest payments.
In the year to March, the RPIY rose by 3.9 per cent, down from 4.0 per cent in February. Therefore the RPIY and RPI 12-month rates both fell by 0.1 percentage points between the two months. This is because there were no changes to indirect taxation that impacted on the RPI between February and March. Also mortgage interest payments had only a small downward effect on the change in the RPI 12-month rate between the two months and this was not sufficient to cause a divergence between the changes to the RPIY and RPI 12-month rates.
|All items CPI||Annual rate +3.5%, up from +3.4% last month|
|Highest since January 2012 (+3.6%)|
|Health||Annual rate +2.8%, down from +3.5% last month|
|Lowest since February 2011 (+2.7%)|
|Transport||Annual rate +3.3%, down from +3.7% last month|
|Lowest since September 2009 (+1.2%)|
|All items RPI||Annual rate +3.6%, down from +3.7% last month|
|Lowest since December 2009 (+2.4%)|
|All items RPI exc MIPS (RPIX)||Annual rate +3.7%, down from +3.8% last month|
|Lowest since November 2009 (+2.7%)|
|Annual rate +3.1%, down from +3.2% last month|
|Catering||Also +3.1% in July 2010|
|Last lower in June 2010 (+3.0%)|
|Annual rate +8.8%, down from +8.9% last month|
|Tobacco||Also +8.8% in January 2012|
|Last lower in March 2011 (+7.3%)|
|Annual rate +3.5%, down from +3.8% last month|
|Personal goods & services||Also +3.5% in June 2010|
|Last lower in February 2010 (+3.2%)|
|Motoring expenditure||Annual rate +2.1%, down from +3.3% last month|
|Lowest since August 2009 (-0.2%)|
|Fares & other travel||Annual rate +4.9%, down from +5.3% last month|
|Lowest since December 2010 (+4.3%)|
|Annual rate +4.1%, down from +4.2% last month|
|All goods||Also +4.1% in January 2012|
|Last lower in November 2009 (+3.9%)|
|All services||Annual rate +4.1%, down from +4.4% last month|
|Lowest since May 2010 (+4.0%)|
Detailed CPI and RPI Reference Tables (1.34 Mb Excel sheet) : This spreadsheet pulls together the tables that were previously published in the old style Consumer Price Indices Statistical Bulletin and Focus on Consumer Prices publication. A correlation index is included to show the old and new naming conventions and where the tables were previously published, for example: RPI All items 1947-2011 or RP02 & Table 4.1 in Focus is now the new Table 20.
New this month
Estimated Effect of the 2012 Budget on CPI and RPI. Budgetary measures that come into force in 2012/13 will add an estimated 0.38 percentage points to the CPI and 0.41 percentage points to the RPI. Further details are available in an article that was published on the ONS website on 28 March.
Consumer Price Indices Technical Manual 2012. The 2012 edition of the Consumer Price Indices Technical Manual (754.3 Kb Pdf) was published on 3 April 2012. The Manual has mainly been written in terms of the CPI but covers the concepts underpinning the CPI and RPI, the differences between the indices, the methodologies used, collection and validation of prices, calculation of weights, publication and usage of the different indices.
CPI and RPI Weights
In line with usual practice the CPI and RPI weights were updated with the publication of the January and February datasets. Additional details of the update will be available from the ONS website in an article published on 24 April 2012 entitled Consumer Prices Index and Retail Prices Index: Updating Weights for 2012.
Inflation for April 2011 to April 2012 will be published on 22 May 2012. CPI and RPI inflation rates between April 2011 and March 2012 were 2.4 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively. Inflation rates for April 2011 to April 2012 will take account of price changes between March 2012 and April 2012.
The CPI is the main UK domestic measure of consumer price inflation for macroeconomic purposes. It forms the basis for the Government's target for inflation that the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is required to achieve. From April 2011 the CPI is also being used for the indexation of benefits, tax credits and public service pensions. The uprating is based on the 12-month change in the September CPI.
Internationally, the CPI is known as the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP). HICPs are calculated in each Member State of the European Union, according to rules specified in a series of European regulations developed by Eurostat in conjunction with the EU Member States. HICPs are used to compare inflation rates across the European Union. Since January 1999, the HICP has also been used by the European Central Bank (ECB) as the measure of price stability across the euro area.
The CPI and the RPI are compiled using the same underlying price data, based on a large and representative selection of almost 700 individual goods and services for which price movements are measured in around 150 randomly selected areas throughout the UK. Around 180,000 separate price quotations are used every month to compile the indices. The outlets in which the prices are collected are selected randomly. Expenditure weights are held constant for one year at a time.
The selection of goods and services that are priced to compile the CPI and RPI is reviewed annually. The contents of the 2012 basket are described in an article
Consumer Prices Index and Retail Prices Index: the 2012 Basket of Goods and Services (274.7 Kb Pdf)
. The expenditure weights used to compile the indices are also updated each year. Additional details of the updated CPI and RPI weights for 2011 are available from the ONS website in an article published on 19 April 2011 entitled Consumer Prices Index and Retail Prices Index:
Updating Weights for 2011 (301.5 Kb Pdf)
. An article describing the 2012 weights will be published on 24 April 2012.
Rates of change for the CPI are calculated from unrounded index levels, rather than from the published indices, which are rounded to one decimal place. The use of unrounded indices increases the accuracy of the calculation. The unrounded index levels are available on request. By contrast, rates of change for the RPI are calculated from the published rounded indices.
Once the RPI indices are published they are never revised. CPI indices are revisable although the only time the CPI all items index has been revised was when the index was re-referenced to 2005=100, which took place with the publication of the January 2006 indices.
The CPI's coverage of goods and services was extended in stages in the areas of health, education, childcare and insurance, with effect from the January 2000, 2001, and 2002 indices. In 2000, there was also a change to the population basis for the weights which was broadened from private households to include expenditure by foreign visitors and residents of institutional households.
The official CPI series starts in 1996 but estimates for earlier periods are available back to 1988. These estimates are broadly consistent with data from 1996 but should be treated with some caution.
RPI data are available back to 1947 but have been re-referenced on several occasions since then, generally accompanied by changes to the coverage and/or structure of the detailed sub-components. Details of these changes are given in Appendices 1 and 2 of the Consumer Price Indices Technical Manual (754.3 Kb Pdf) .
Other measures of inflation - main uses and methodological details
Detailed explanations on the main uses and methodology used to construct the 'other measures of inflation' included within this statistical bulletin and how they differ from the CPI can be found in Chapters 9 and 10 of the
Consumer Price Indices Technical Manual (754.3 Kb Pdf)
. In addition the article How ONS consumer price statistics are used provides further details on how consumer price statistics are used more generally.
All items Retail Prices Index (RPI): the RPI is the most long-standing general purpose measure of inflation in the UK. Historically the uses of the RPI include the indexation of various prices and incomes and the uprating of pensions, state benefits and index-linked gilts, as well as the revalorisation of excise duties. Please note, though, that from April 2011 the CPI is being used to uprate benefits, tax credits and public service pensions.
The main differences between the CPI and RPI are:
population base: CPI includes all UK private and institutional households and foreign visitors to the UK. The RPI includes private households only and excludes the highest income households and pensioner households mainly dependent on state benefits; these excluded private households account for around 13 per cent of all UK household expenditure,
item coverage: the most significant difference is that the CPI excludes a number of items relating to housing costs (such as mortgage interest payments, house depreciation and council tax) that are included in the RPI,
index methodology - formula: the CPI mainly uses the geometric mean whereas the RPI uses the arithmetic mean to combine individual prices at the first stage of aggregation,
item coding: the CPI uses a standard international classification system whereas the RPI uses a system unique to itself and not used elsewhere. The different approaches reflect the fact that the CPI is used to compare inflation rates across Europe so a standard framework is required; the RPI is mainly used within the UK only.
A breakdown of the differences between the CPI and RPI (62.9 Kb Pdf) annual inflation rates is available on the ONS website.
Also available is an explanation of the increased impact that the different formula used to construct the CPI and RPI (61 Kb Pdf) had on the indices during 2010:
All items Retail Prices Index excluding mortgage interest payments (RPIX): this index is the same as the all items RPI but it excludes the mortgage interest payments component,
All items Retail Prices Index excluding mortgage interest payments and indirect taxes (RPIY): is an index designed to measure movements in 'core' prices as the index excludes price changes which are directly due to changes in indirect taxation (for example VAT; excise duties on tobacco, alcohol and petrol; local authority taxation; vehicle excise duty; and television licence fees) and mortgage interest payments. The purpose of the index is to obtain a better indication of inflationary pressures at times when prices are directly influenced by government-driven changes,
Consumer Prices Index excluding indirect taxes (CPIY): is an index designed to measure movements in 'underlying prices' as it excludes price changes which are directly due to changes in indirect taxation (for example VAT, excise duties on tobacco, alcohol and petrol; vehicle excise duty; and television licence fees). As with the RPIY, its main purpose is to obtain a better indication of inflationary pressures at times when prices are directly influenced by government-driven changes,
Consumer Prices Index at constant tax rates (CPI-CT): is an index where tax rates are kept constant at the rates as they were in the base period (currently January 2012) and which excludes vehicle excise duty and television licence fees. The analytical value of the CPI-CT is when it is compared with the CPI; differences in the monthly and annual rates of change between the two indices provide an indication of the impact of tax changes on the CPI.
The most efficient way to access the latest CPI and RPI data and briefing on the website is via the CPI or RPI key figures on the ONS website homepage.
In response to user feedback, we have taken the opportunity to make all CPI and RPI data available in one location. These Detailed CPI and RPI Reference Tables (1.34 Mb Excel sheet) are provided via a 'printer friendly' excel file.
To further help users, very detailed CPI data are now available including the individual price quotes and item indices that underpin the CPI. Please note that the data that are published are at a level which means that no individual retailer or service provider will be able to be identified. The data published covers January 1996 to December 2011. These data are updated once a quarter with around a two month lag with the latest CPI publication, for example, the data will next be updated when the May CPI is published on 19 June 2012, at which point the detailed data published will be extended to March 2012.
This bulletin includes the March 2012 data, collected on 13 March 2012. Future publication dates (16.9 Kb Pdf) for this Statistical Bulletin are available on the ONS website. The European Commission (Eurostat) released figures for the harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP) for the month of March 2012 for EU Member States, together with an EU average, on 17 April 2012. Further information on HICP for the European Union, Eurozone and other EU Member States is available from Eurostat's HICP web page.
A more detailed quality report (119.3 Kb Pdf) for this statistical bulletin is available on the ONS website. The report assesses the CPI and RPI against standard dimensions of quality such as relevance, accuracy and accessibility. The report was last updated in December 2011.
The mini Triennial Review of the CPI and RPI Central Collection of Prices (1.75 Mb Pdf) is also available.
A full description of how the CPI and RPI are compiled is given in the Consumer Price Indices Technical Manual (754.3 Kb Pdf) .
Further information on the CPI and RPI, including details of the methodology used to construct the indices, articles, historic data etc. is available on the Consumer Price Indices release page.
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A list of persons receiving pre-release access to this release is available on the ONS website (83.5 Kb Pdf) .
The National Statistician, Jil Matheson, announced in December 2011 that the House Price Index previously produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government (and used in the production of the RPI) would transfer to ONS. The transfer is now complete and the House Price Index has been published for the first time by ONS on 17 April.
During 2010, an assessment team from the UK Statistics Authority conducted a review of the Office for National Statistics' Consumer Price Indices. Their remit was to assess compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. In December 2010, the team published their conclusions as Assessment Report 79.
While carrying out the assessment, the team also researched and published Monitoring Brief 7/2010 - Communicating Inflation.
Following this assessment and ONS's subsequent response, the UK Statistics Authority, on 31 January 2012 confirmed the designation of the CPI and RPI as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:
meet identified user needs
are well explained and readily accessible
are produced according to sound methods
are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest
Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.
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