# Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP)

• 1Contact
• 1.1Contact organisation
National Statistics Institute of Spain

Avenida de Manoteras 50-52 - 28050 Madrid

07/02/2024
15/01/2013
07/02/2024
• 3Statistical presentation
• 3.1Data description

Harmonised Indices of Consumer Prices (HICP) provide comparable measures of inflation for all European Union countries.

It is an economic indicator that measures the price evolution of consumer goods and services acquired by households and it is measured harmonically for all countries, following a set of common rules.

• 3.2Classification system
• 3.3Sector coverage

HICP covers all households, resident and non-resident in Spain, that incur in consumption expenses in the economic territory, specifically the goods and services acquired by those households.

• 3.4Statistical concepts and definitions
• Adjustment due to change in quality
Estimate of the part of the price difference between the new item (substitute) and the old one (substituted) due to the difference in quality between the two.
• Aggregate index
Weighted arithmetic average of basic indices.
• Basic Index
Quotient between the average price for the current month and the average price for December of the previous year (multiplied by 100). The indices have no measurement unit and show price variation from the base period until the current month.
Set of products for which the price is collected monthly.
• Change in quality
A change that occurs when a subvariety of the basket is substituted by another with different features, that imply a change in usefulness of the product.
• Contribution
The contribution of a product measures how much the general index would change if only the price of the aforementioned product changed (in other words, if the other prices remain constant).
• HICP Prices
The prices considered for calculating the HICP are effective prices for selling to the public, with cash payment, including taxes and net of subsidies.
• Product or aggregate weight
The weight of a product or aggregate is the relative importance it has in relation to the rest of products or aggregates in the basket, according to expenditure/income.
• Scanner data
Detailed data on sales of consumer goods obtained by scanning the bar codes for individual products at electronic points of sale in retail outlets. The data can provide detailed information about quantities, characteristics and values of goods sold, as well as their prices. Scanner data constitute a source of data with considerable potential for CPI purposes and, for this reason, a lot of countries are including them in the CPI compilation.
• Specification
Set of features that define, identify and determine each specific item.
• Variation
This shows the evolution of prices between the time periods.
• 3.5Statistical unit

Resident and non-resident households that incur their counsumption expenditure within the Spanish economic territory.

• 3.6Statistical population

All households that incur their counsumption expenditure within the Spanish economic territory, whether urban or rural, individual or collective, and regardless of their income and their place of residence.

This excludes the expenditure incurred outside of the Spanish economic territory.

• 3.7Reference area

The geographical scope constitutes all the national territory (the 52 provinces).

• 3.8Time coverage

The survey is carried out monthly.

The HICP index series with base 2015 started in January 1997.

• 3.9Base period

Base Period

The base period or reference period of the index is the year 2015 (2015=100).

Reference period for the prices

It is the period in which its prices are compared to current prices, that is, the period chosen for the calculation of the elementary indices.

With the calculation formula used for the HICP, base 2015 – chain-linked Laspeyres – the reference period for the prices varies each year and it is the month of December of the year immediately before the one considered.

Reference period for the weights

It is the reference period of the data from which the weightings that serve as the HICP structure are obtained.

From 2023, for the year t, the calculation of HICP, base 2015, weights has been carried out using the information of the Spanish National Accounts (SNA) corresponding to the year (t-2). Subsequently, these weightings were updated with information on prices and quantities so as to reference them with date December (t-1).

Weights are updated annually.

• 4Unit of measure
• 4.1Unit of measure

- Indices

Indices are compiled as ratios of prices in a given month to prices in the reference month (December of the previous year) multiplied by 100. Therefore indices are unitless.

- Rates of change

All rates of change are usually given as percentage changes.

- Weights

For each item or group of items, weights represent the corresponding percentage share of the total expenditure.

• 5Reference period
• 5.1Reference period

The data reference period is the month.

Data referred to the period: Mensual A: 2024 MES: 01

• 6Institutional mandate
• 6.1Legal acts and other agreements

The compilation and dissemination of the data are governed by the Statistical Law No. 12/1989 "Public Statistical Function" of May 9, 1989, and Law No. 4/1990 of June 29 on “National Budget of State for the year 1990" amended by Law No. 13/1996 "Fiscal, administrative and social measures" of December 30, 1996, makes compulsory all statistics included in the National Statistics Plan. The National Statistical Plan 2009-2012 was approved by the Royal Decree 1663/2008. It contains the statistics that must be developed in the four year period by the State General Administration's services or any other entity dependent on it. All statistics included in the National Statistics Plan are statistics for state purposes and are obligatory. The National Statistics Plan 2021-2024, approved by Royal Decree 1110/2020, of 15  December, is the Plan currently implemented. This statistical operation has governmental purposes, and it is included in the National Statistics Plan 2021-2024. (Statistics of the State Administration).

The HICP is a harmonised measure of inflation whose need is established in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Regulation (EU) 2016/792, of 11 May 2016, on harmonised indices of consumer prices and the house price index, and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 2494/95, (Official Journal of the European Union L series 135/11) constitutes the legal base to establish the methodology for calculating the HICP of Member States as well as the HICPs corresponding to the European Union (EICP) and the Monetary Union (MUICP).

In the scope of this Regulation, the Commission has developed detailed regulations that establish the specific rules that regulate the generation of HICPs. To date, several regulations have been adopted. These regulations determine matters such as the quality of the weightings, the transmission and dissemination of the indices, coverage of goods and services, geographical and population coverage, the essential norms for the treatment of some items (fees, insurance, health, education and social protection), the price introduction calendar, price reduction treatment, service expenses treatment, the revisions policy, the change of index reference period, time coverage of price collection, sampling procedures, replacements and quality changes and the treatment of seasonal items. A recommendation has also been published on the reforms of health assistance.

All of these regulations and some other methodological details can be found in the sections dedicated to the HICP in the Eurostat website, within the Legislation section.

The Spanish version of these European Union regulations may be accessed in https://www.ine.es/normativa/leyes/UE/minine.htm#30180

• 6.2Data sharing
The exchanges of information needed to elaborate statistics between the INE and the rest of the State statistical offices (Ministerial Departments, independent bodies and administrative bodies depending on the State General Administration), or between these offices and the Autonomic statistical offices, are regulated in the LFEP (Law of the Public Statistic Function). This law also regulates the mechanisms of statistical coordination, and concludes cooperation agreements between the different offices when necessary.

HICPs are sent monthly to Eurostat for calculation of aggregates of the Monetary Union (MUICP) and the European Union (EICP).

• 7Confidentiality
• 7.1Confidentiality - policy

The Statistical Law No. 12/1989 specifies that the INE cannot publish, or make otherwise available, individual data or statistics that would enable the identification of data for any individual person or entity. Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society

• 7.2Confidentiality - data treatment
INE provides information on the protection of confidentiality at all stages of the statistical process: INE questionnaires for the operations in the national statistical plan include a legal clause protecting data under statistical confidentiality. Notices prior to data collection announcing a statistical operation notify respondents that data are subject to statistical confidentiality at all stages. For data processing, INE employees have available the INE data protection handbook, which specifies the steps that should be taken at each stage of processing to ensure reporting units' individual data are protected. The microdata files provided to users are anonymised.

In the case of the HICP, only aggregate information that does not allow obtaining information on microdata is published.

Moreover, since HICPs are European statistics, they are also ruled by European Parliament and Council Regulation (EC) No. 223/2009, 11 March 2009, regarding the transmission of data protected by Statistical Secrecy to the Statistical Offices of European Communities.

• 8Release policy
• 8.1Release calendar

The advance release calendar that shows the precise release dates for the coming year is disseminated in the last quarter of each year.

• 8.2Release calendar access

The calendar is disseminated on the INEs Internet website (Publications Calendar)

• 8.3User access

The data are released simultaneously according to the advance release calendar to all interested parties by issuing the press release. At the same time, the data are posted on the INE's Internet website (www.ine.es/en) almost immediately after the press release is issued. Also some predefined tailor-made requests are sent to registered users. Some users could receive partial information under embargo as it is publicly described in the European Statistics Code of Practice

• 9Frequency of dissemination
• 9.1Frequency of dissemination

The HICP is disseminated monthly.

• 10Accessibility and clarity
• 10.1News release

The results of the statistical operations are normally disseminated by using press releases that can be accessed via both the corresponding menu and the Press Releases Section in the web

• 10.2Publications

Press releases, on the day of publication.

Some results are collected in generic publications such as “España en Cifras” (Spain in Figures).

• 10.3On-line database

INEbase is the system the INE uses to store statistical information on the Internet. It contains all the information the INE produces in electronic formats. The primary organisation of the information follows the theme-based classification of the Inventory of Statistical Operations of the State General Administration . The basic unit of INEbase is the statistical operation, defined as the set of activities that lead to obtaining statistical results on a determined sector or subject based on the individually collected data. Also included in the scope of this definition are synthesis preparation.

All information on indices, variations and weightings of the HICP is available on the online HICP database.

The number of entries to data base in 2023 was AC1=267,462

The number of entries to metadata base in 2023 was AC2=4,567

• 10.4Micro-data access
A lot of statistical operations disseminate public domain anonymized files, available free of charge for downloading in the INE website Microdata Section

No information on microdata is provided for the HICP.

• 10.5Other

All information that may be provided on the HICP is available on the INE website.

• 10.6Documentation on methodology

Documents on the HICP methodology are available on the INE website via the following links:

Overall methodology of the HICP

Change of treatment in seasonal items

The Eurostat website contains detailed information on the HICP methodology and its legislation:

HICP Methodology - Eurostat

The filled out metadata rate is: AC3=100%

• 10.7Quality documentation

The sections 10.6 to 17 of this document are the User-oriented Quality report for this statistics.

On the other hand, there are no documents on sampling errors, because the HICP is a statistics with non-probabilistic sampling,

In order to guarantee compliance with the regulation and good practices in all the countries that generate HICP, Eurostat has established a quality control system. The documents regarding its functioning and the reports of each country may be consulted in the Eurostat HICP Methodology website, section Compliance Monitoring.

• 11Quality management
• 11.1Quality assurance

Quality assurance framework for the INE statistics is based on the ESSCoP, the European Statistics Code of Practice made by EUROSTAT. The ESSCoP is made up of 16 principles, gathered in three areas: Institutional Environment, Processes and Products. Each principle is associated with some indicators which make possible to measure it. In order to evaluate quality, EUROSTAT provides different tools: the indicators mentioned above, Self-assessment based on the DESAP model, peer review, user satisfaction surveys and other proceedings for evaluation.

The Spanish HICP is a high-quality statistical operation. Its methodology is approved by al Member States of the Working Group on Price Statistics, coordinated by Eurostat.

The HICP is designed to ensure a continuous assessment of data quality. The collected prices are first validated in the moment they are recorded and all price changes must be justified in order to ensure data quality. Subsequently, the prices are edited and validated again from the Central Services.

It is the best measure of inflation so as to establish comparisons in the Monetary Union and the European Union.

• 11.2Quality assessment

The HICP is an up to day indicator since it revises its methodological system permanently in order to improve it. Besides, it is dynamic, because annually it reviews the weights for certain levels of functional disaggregation and includes in the shortest time any change detected in the market: the appearance of new products, changes in the consumption structure or in the sample of municipalities or outlets. In addition, it establishes the base changes every five years, carrying out a complete review of the methodology and the sample and the updating of weights at all levels of disaggregation.

Therefore, and thanks to the calculation methodology applied, it is an indicator with a high representativeness.

However, there are some aspects where the HICP needs to be improved to increase the process efficiency and the indicator accuracy. These aspects are related mainly to the methods used for collecting prices, since the consumers have changed the ways to access to the market and they are now much more diverse, and the new technologies also allow methods of obtaining the information faster and more efficiently.

To adapt the HICP to these changes, we are currently working on projects that will improve representativeness, quality and precision. These are the following:

- Collection of information using electronic devices.

- Use of "scanner data", based on the use of the information registered by the companies in the cash line of their establishments. The fundamental aspects for its implementation are its methodological treatment, from its obtaining until its use, and the conceptual change that it supposes with respect to the traditional collection, when substituting prices of acquisition by unit values.

- Use of web scraping, that is, massive collection of internet data. Conceptually it is very similar to the traditional methodology, regarding the use of offer prices, but it is necessary to develop a specific computer software.

• 12Relevance
• 12.1User needs

The main users of the HICP are the European Central Bank, the Bank of Spain, the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, European organisations, financial institutions and economic analysts.

The main HICP application is the comparison of inflation among the countries of the Monetary Union and the European Union.

• 12.2User satisfaction

The INE has carried out general user satisfaction surveys in 2007, 2010, 2013,  2016 and 2019 and it plans to continue doing so every three years. The purpose of these surveys is to find out what users think about the quality of the information of the INE statistics and the extent to which their needs of information are covered. In addition, additional surveys are carried out in order to acknowledge better other fields such as dissemination of the information, quality of some publications...

On the INE website, in its section Methods and Projects / Quality and Code of Practice / INE quality management / User surveys are available surveys conducted to date.(Click  next link)

The HICP is one of the surveys that is best valued by users in terms of satisfaction.

• 12.3Completeness

Indices are compiled for all ECOICOP breakdown levels, from 2 to 5 digits, according to the established in Commission Regulation (EC) 2016/792, 11 May 2016.

The rate of compulsory available results for the HICP, base 2015, is R1=100%.

• 13Accuracy and reliability
• 13.1Overall accuracy

The procedure for price collection, establishment selection (the most representative of the municipality) and the basket of goods and services (the most consumed items) allows obtaining a high level of accuracy and reliability of these statistics.

• 13.2Sampling error

Sampling errors are not calculated for the HICP because the sample is based on non-probabilistic methods.

In order to minimise possible errors, a price sample that is as large as possible is used.

• 13.3Non-sampling error

During the entire statistical process, non-sampling errors are monitored.

There is no unit non-response rate in the CPI since the prices are collected visiting outlets by INE personnel.

Nevertheless, when a price is occasionally missing (the product is not available in the outlet during collection) an item non-response rate exists. In such cases estimation procedures are carried out, applying  the same variation as the rest of the same product's prices to the previous period's price.

In year 2023 the average item non-response rate is A5= 3,90%.

Moreover, applications have been developed so as to detect and reduce the possible errors during price collection and recording.

In year 2023, the average imputation rate is A7=1.93%.

• 14Timeliness and punctuality
• 14.1Timeliness

The HICP flash estimator is published on the next to last day of the reference month and it provides estimated information on the annual rate of this indicator, therefore, TP1=2 days.

HICP results at all breakdown levels are published near day 13 of the month following the reference month, therefore, TP2=13 days.

• 14.2Punctuality

Survey results are published according the Short-term Statistics availability calendar of the INE.

All HICP publications have been published on the date included in the availability calendar, therefore, TP3=100%.

• 15Coherence and Comparability
• 15.1Comparability - geographical

The HICP comparability degree among the countries of the European Union is very high. The main definitions and classifications are harmonised and collected in different European regulations, so as to guarantee their compliance in all Member States.

• 15.2Comparability - over time

HICP data is completely comparable throughout time.

Since the creation of the HICP, several changes have been introduced so as to improve its reliability and comparability. In some cases these changes have produced a series break, but retrospective data has been calculated applying the new methodologies whenever the appropriate data has been available.

The HICP series started in January 1997 and currently there continues to be ata.

Therefore, up to December 2023, the length of the series of comparable data is CC2=346 months.

• 15.3Coherence - cross domain

The HICP is coherent with the Consumer Price Index (CPI), also compiled by INE.

Nevertheless, these two indicators are conceived with different purposes and are not regulated by the same regulation, therefore there are some differences in their methodologies and coverage:

Consumption expenditure of residents in group households or institutions (convents, nursing homes, prisons, etc.) as well as expenditure within the economic territory by non-residents are included in the HICP but not in the national CPI.

Consumption expenditure of residents outside of the national territory is included in the CPI but not in the HICP.

During out-of-season months prices for seasonal clothing and footwear products are estimated for the HICP, but not for the CPI.

• 15.4Coherence - internal

HICPs are internally coherent. Aggregations are carried out from the lowest geographical and functional information levels to the highest.

• 16Cost and burden
• 16.1Cost and burden

In the 2024 Annual Program, the estimate of the necessary budget appropriation to finance these statistics is 79.36thousand euro.

There is no burden on respondents since the HICP is compiled using the information collected for the CPI.

• 17Data revision
• 17.1Data revision - policy

The INE of Spain has a policy which regulates the basic aspects of statistical data revision, seeking to ensure process transparency and product quality. This policy is laid out in the document approved by the INE board of directors on 13 March of 2015, which is available on the INE website, in the section "Methods and projects/Quality and Code of Practice/INE’s Quality management/INE’s Revision policy" (link).

This general policy sets the criteria that the different type of revisions should follow:  routine revision- it is the case of statistics whose production process includes regular revisions-; more extensive revision- when methodological or basic reference source changes take place-; and exceptional revision- for instance, when an error appears in a published statistic-.

The HICP series, including retrospective data, may be checked in the terms established in the Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1921/2001, 28 September 2001 (Official Journal of the European Union L series 261/49). This way, the published HICP data can be checked for errors, new information, improvements or changes in the system of harmonised rules.

• 17.2Data revision - practice

Spanish HICP data is not revised, except if the changes introduced by the application of a new regulation causes incomparability. If this occurs, the indices for the previous year are revised in order to obtain consistent annual rates.

To date, the HICP has been revised twice: in January 2002 when reduced prices were introduced, in January 2011 due to the change of treatment of seasonal items and in January 2015 due to the reallocation of some items in the new ECOICOP classification (down to 5-digit level).

• 18Statistical processing
• 18.1Source data

The data used for the compilation of the HICP is obtained from direct price collection in the outlets and from scanner data.

Sample size consists in 462 consumption goods and services whose prices are collected directly from outlets, for which around 220,000 prices are collected in approximately 33,000 outlets all over Spain, and 493 goods whose prices are obtained through scanner data.

• 18.2Frequency of data collection

Price are collected once a month, from the 1st to the 22nd day of the reference month, for most items.

Prices for fresh products (fruit, vegetables, fresh meat and fish, eggs and potatoes) are collected three times a month in capital municipalities and twice a month in non-capital municipalities.

Moreover, the prices of some items are collected during the entire month, such as: petrol, tobacco, airline tickets, etc.

• 18.3Data collection

Price collection for the HICP is mainly carried out by means of a paper questionnaire. Starting January 2020, scanner data is implemented for some items, is that to say, detailed data on sales of consumer goods obtanied by 'scanning' the bar codes for individual products in all chain's outlets. These database are provided directly by companies to INE.

Some items are collected by other means (Internet, telephone calls, etc.)

Since collection is carried out by INE interviewers, non-response does not exist.

The questionnaire includes the items for which the price will be collected in each establishment, with a detailed description of its characteristics (specifications), which allows the interviewer to identify the exact product. It also includes information on the price of the previous month.

• 18.4Data validation

Questionnaire recording and filtering is carried out in the provincial delegations, this way establishing the necessary control regulations so as to guarantee an appropriate quality level during the entire process. This allows monitoring, already in this stage, recording errors (the recording application detects variations above or below a threshold).

After the data is collected and recorded, it is firstly filtered in the delegations. In the delegation, the prices that have variations above or below a specific threshold shall be validated.

Moreover, repeated interview processes are carried out so as to ensure the quality and reliability of the collected information.

• 18.5Data compilation

- Edition and validation

The prices sent from the provincial delegations are filtered in the Central Services and all variations above or below specific thresholds are confirmed.

- Centralised items

There are some items whose prices are monitored from the INE Central Services. These types of items are goods and services that have one or several of the following characteristics:

- their prices are the same in a wide geographical area,

- their prices are subject to fees published in the Official State Gazette,

- there are few companies that sell the product,-there is a perfectly defined directory of respondents

- items that regularly change quality (such as technology items), which makes it difficult to carry out quality adjustments; since they are collected in a centralised way, the treatment of these adjustments is standardised.

These items are known as centralised collection items.

- Calculation of indices

First the elementary indices are calculated as the quotient of the geometric average of the prices collected during the month over the prices collected in December of the previous year.

Subsequently, the elementary indices are aggregated using a weighted arithmetic average.

- Weights

The main weighting sources of the HICP are the Spanish National Accounts and the Household Budget Survey.

The expenditure used to compilate the weights is the household final monetary consumption expenditure, according the definition of the European System of Accounts (ESA).

Moreover, for the most brokendown information, other sources such as the offer is used.

There are weights for each item in every province.

- Treatment of seasonal items

In the Spanish HICP, clothing and footwear, fresh fruit and fresh vegetables are regarded as seasonal products, because they are not available for purchase all year.

The calculation method used to measure price variations of seasonal fresh fruit andfresh vegetables consists in using a monthly basket with the items that are in season each month.

For seasonal clothing and footwear products, the method consists in estimating the prices of out-of-season products.

Items that belong to these divisions and are available in the market every month of the year are calculated in the same as any other product in the basket.

- Treatment of offers and sales

The HICP collects discounted prices in terms of occasional offers as well as seasonal sales.

- Treatment of occasional missing price

When an item is occasionally not available for sale in the moment of collection, its price is estimated using the variations of the rest of item prices collected in the province.

- Treatment of missing items and replacements

When the price of an item has been missing twice or the item ceases to be on the market, the item shall be replaced as soon as possible. The new product will be selected in the same establishment and with the same quality, except if changes in the market suggest selecting a product with a different quality.

The first selection of products and establishments is carried out in such a way that the most sold products and the establishments with the greatest number of visitors are represented in the sample. This representation shall me maintained when carrying out replacements.

- Adjustments due to quality change in the HICP

When one product is replaced by another, an adjustment shall be carried out so as to determine what part of the price difference between both items is due to different quality between them.

Generally, the replacement product shall have a similar quality to the one replaced, but when for some reason the quality between both is different (different variety, different brand, etc.), an adjustment quotient is calculated so as to guarantee variations in the index caused exclusively by price variations.

There are different quality adjustment methods according to the type of product and the available information. Some of these methods are:

- Same quality adjustment: the quality of both products is the same, therefore their prices are directly compared. This procedure is usually applied to clothing and footwear.

- Information provided by experts: product experts or specialists are asked what part of the price difference between items (replacement and replaced) is due to the difference of quality between both. It is used in cars, telephone services and other.

- Overlap prices: the value of the quality difference between the replaced item and the replacement item is the difference between them in the overlap period, that is, during the period in which both items are for sale. It is applied when the information on the prices of both items during the overlap period is available.

- Imputation prices: imputation of the average price variation of an aggregate to which the item belongs. It is used when there is no information available that allows carrying out another type of adjustment.

- Hedonic regression methods this method is part of the hypothesis that the price of an item may be expressed regarding a set of characteristics by means of a regression model ( linear or non-linear). It is used with washing machines and televisions.

- Capacity change: it is used to compare the price between two products that have the exact same characteristics except the quantity, comparing the price of both products for the same size.