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Underlying Inflation: Concepts, Measurement and Performance

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  • Ivan Roberts

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

Abstract

This paper explores the concept of underlying inflation and the properties of various measures of underlying inflation in the Australian context. Underlying inflation measures are routinely calculated and monitored by central banks in many countries, including the Reserve Bank of Australia. Alternative measurement concepts are explored, and a range of measures that have been calculated for Australia are discussed and evaluated on the basis of statistical criteria. These criteria capture the intuition that a good measure of underlying inflation should be less volatile than CPI (or headline) inflation, be unbiased with respect to CPI inflation, and capture the ‘trend’ in CPI inflation so that, on average, CPI inflation will tend to adjust towards the measure of underlying inflation. In the Australian context, statistical measures of underlying inflation, such as the trimmed mean or weighted median, perform fairly satisfactorily against these criteria. The performance of these measures can be further improved by seasonally adjusting prices at the CPI component level. Although underlying inflation measures have become less necessary in the past decade as inflation itself has become less volatile, these findings suggest that underlying inflation measures can still add value to the analysis of inflationary trends.

Suggested Citation

  • Ivan Roberts, 2005. "Underlying Inflation: Concepts, Measurement and Performance," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2005-05, Reserve Bank of Australia.
  • Handle: RePEc:rba:rbardp:rdp2005-05
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    File URL: http://www.rba.gov.au/publications/rdp/2005/pdf/rdp2005-05.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jamie Hall & Jarkko P. Jääskelä, 2011. "Inflation Volatility and Forecast Accuracy," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 44(4), pages 404-417, December.
    2. David Norman & Anthony Richards, 2012. "The Forecasting Performance of Single Equation Models of Inflation," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 88(280), pages 64-78, March.
    3. Andrew Stone & Troy Wheatley & Louise Wilkinson, 2005. "A Small Model of the Australian Macroeconomy: An Update," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2005-11, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    4. Andrea Brischetto & Anthony Richards, 2006. "The Performance of Trimmed Mean Measures of Underlying Inflation," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2006-10, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    5. Atchana Waiquamdee & Pranee Sutthasri & Surach Tanboon, 2010. "Monetary policy and underlying inflation pressures: the essence of monetary policy design," BIS Papers chapters,in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Measurement of inflation and the Philippine monetary policy framework, volume 49, pages 347-367 Bank for International Settlements.
    6. Christian Gillitzer & John Simon, 2006. "Component-smoothed Inflation: Estimating the Persistent Component of Inflation in Real Time," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2006-11, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    7. Liam J. A. Lenten, 2010. "Bananas and petrol: further evidence on the forecasting accuracy of the ABS 'headline' and 'underlying' rates of inflation," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(6), pages 556-572.
    8. Péter Gábriel & György Molnár & Judit Rariga, 2013. "Measures of underlying inflation," MNB Bulletin (discontinued), Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary), vol. 8(3), pages 25-35, October.
    9. Atchana Waiquamdee & Pranee Sutthasri & Tientip Subhanij & Surach Tanboon, 2009. "Monetary Policy and Underlying Inflation Pressures: The Essence of Monetary Policy Design," Working Papers 2009-11, Monetary Policy Group, Bank of Thailand.
    10. Zelda Blignaut & Greg Farrell & Victor Munyama & Logan Rangasamy, 2009. "A Note On The Trimmed Mean Measure Of Core Inflation In South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 77(4), pages 538-552, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    underlying inflation; core inflation; trimmed mean; weighted median; volatility-weighted measures;

    JEL classification:

    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation

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