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NBS Publishes CPI Calculation Process

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) published an article on its website Tuesday explaining how CPI is surveyed and produced in China.

According to the article, the CPI survey covers 262 basic commodities and service items nationwide. While the former contains food, clothing, home appliance and daily commodities, the latter refers to items such as medical service, transportation, communication and entertainment. The article does not mention "household expenses"; currently, housing prices are excluded from CPI.

Local governments are allowed to select representative items from their local market. For example, for grain products, Beijing surveys steamed bread, baked wheat cake and pancakes while Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou Province, surveys rice noodles, steamed rice noodle rolls and thick noodles.

The article says the pricing information of commodities covered by CPI is collected from 50,000 businesses, agricultural produce markets, hospitals and cinemas in 500 targeted cities and counties in 31 provinces. The number of survey spots per city is decided according to a city's scale. Generally speaking, big cities will have more survey spots than their smaller counterparts. For example, Beijing has selected 1,454 commercial places to be surveyed, including 621 businesses, 41 agricultural markets and 792 service providers, while Guiyang has only 136 pricing survey spots.

The NBS will send around 4,000 surveyors to collect original pricing information across the country. Food prices which have high frequency fluctuations will be monitored five days at a time while the prices of most industrial products, including clothing, transportation and communication services, will be reported two to three times per month. Prices of products that are set by government, such as water and power, will be reviewed once a month.

Since the beginning of the year, the NBS has started to equip surveyors with hand-held data-collectors. The pricing information surveyors imput into their data-collectors is sent to the NBS instantaneously. It has been reported that every surveyor will have a data-collector in 2011.

China's CPI is determined by the proportion of detailed consumption expenses of 120,000 urban and rural households and is adjusted every five years. City and county-level statistic bureaus calculate their local CPIs based on national standards; their calculations are then reviewed and summarized by the NBS and used to calculate the national CPI.

This article was edited by Rose Scobie

The Beijing News:
National Bureau of Statistics: 我国居民消费价格指数(CPI)是如何调查和生成的


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